Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds bullpen throws 8.1 no-hitting innings, but Hoover happens in the 15th

It was a crazy night at the old ballpark. The Reds bullpen, the worst in all of baseball, threw 8.1 no-hit innings against the first place Chicago Cubs. The Cubs had THREE different relief pitchers play in left field in the game. I’ll try to recap this wild one for you:

A long time ago, John Lamb started a baseball game for the Reds. Lamb finished off a terrific month of June by holding the Cubs to just two runs over six innings. Lamb gave up a leadoff home run to Ben Zobrist on an 0-2 pitch, but settled down and pitched a very good game. Following Lamb, Raisel Iglesias pitched two brilliant innings in relief, striking out four.

But as good as the Reds pitching was, the offense couldn’t get anything going through the first seven innings off Jon Lester. Billy Hamilton changed the Reds fortunes, as he was able to rip a solo home run down the leftfield line off Lester to get the Reds on the board.

Brandon Phillips was a hit by a pitch with one out in the ninth, and Jay Bruce followed with a single. After Duvall struck out, Eugenio Suarez ripped a single to leftfield. Reds third base coach Billy Hatcher decided to send the hobbled Phillips home, and it payed off. The throw was off line, and Phillips made a great slide to avoid the tag, and the Reds tied the game.


The game went into extra innings, and the Reds bullpen (with the glairing excpetion of J.J. Hoover) had without question their best performance of 2016. The Reds relievers combined to pitch 8.1 no-hit innings.

The Reds offense couldn’t get anything going, inning after inning. The Reds had a good chance in the bottom of the 13th, as they had runners on first and second with Votto up. Joey smashed a line drive, but it was caught by Ben Zobrist who doubled up De Jesus Jr. to end the threat.

Then J.J. Hoover happened in the top of the 15th. Hoover gave up a grand slam to Javier Baez to seal this one. The Cubs won a baseball game where they had three different relief pitchers play in left field. You will never see another baseball game like this one.

Final / 15 innings R H E
Cincinnati Reds (29-48) 2 8 1
Chicago Cubs (50-26) 7 9 1
W: Patton (1-0) L: Hoover (1-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score Game Thread

Reds Cubs WPA

Biggest Play of the Game 

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Eugenio Suarez 2-out RBI single in the 9th inning off Hector Rondon, tying the game at 2. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 44.2% (from 16.9% to 61.1%).

Other important plays (+/- indicates how much each play increased/decreased the Reds chance of winning):

  • +12.5% – 9th inning – Bruce singles. Runners on 1st & 2nd, 1 out. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • +12.1% – 9th inning – Hamilton solo home run with 1 out. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • +11.3% – 10th inning – Smith gets Bryant to fly out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners. Game tied at 2.
  • +10.3% – 13th inning – Wood gets Coghlan to fly out to end the inning, stranding runner on 2B. Game tied at 2.
  • +9.7% – 9th inning – Phillips hit by pitch to leadoff the inning. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -20.7% – 13th inning – Votto lines into inning ending double play. Game tied at 2.
  • -18.5% – 15th inning – Hoover allows single to Heyward, runners on 1st & 3rd with 1 out. Game tied at 2.
  • -17.8% – 15th inning – Hoover allows RBI single to Bryant. Runners on 1st & 2nd with 1 out. Cubs lead 3-2.
  • -16.3% – 9th inning – Duvall strikes out. 2 outs, runners on 1st & 2nd. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -14.2% – 15th inning – Hoover allows grand slam to Baez. Cubs lead 7-2.
  • -11.1% – 9th inning – Hamilton pops out to end the inning, stranding 2 runners. Game tied at 2.
  • -9.9% – 1st inning – Lamb allows solo home run to Zobrist. Cubs lead 1-0.
  • -9.9% – 8th inning – Cozart pops out to end the inning, stranding Peraza on 2B. Cubs lead 2-1.
  • -9.6% – 5th inning – Lamb allows RBI single to Lester. Cubs lead 2-0.

Player of the Game

John Lamb

John Lamb: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K, 3.48 FIP

Lamb had a pretty darn good start tonight. He really locked in after allowing a home run to the first batter he faced. Lamb really did a great job mixing his pitches. The most encouraging thing is that it looks like Lamb has figured out how to strikeout hitters again. He now has 19 strikeouts over his last 3 starts (16.2 IP).

Lamb finished a terrific month of June with a 3.09 ERA in 6 starts (35.0 IP, 27 K, 13 BB).


Raisel Iglesias looked really, really, really good in relief. He struck out four straight batters, and pitched two scoreless innings. Iglesias has been pretty sharp through his first three appearances in the bullpen: 5.0 IP, 2 H, 1 ER, 2 BB, 6 K.


Billy Hamilton for some reason owns Jon Lester. He hit another home run against him, and is now 6 for 10 with 2 home runs against him.

Josh Smith pitched 2.1 scoreless, no-hit innings. He got Cingrani out of a jam in the 10th, and then pitched a scoreless 11th, and a perfect 12th inning.

Blake Wood pitched two scoreless, no-hit innings. Wood didn’t even walk a batter.

Jose Peraza had a pinch hit on an infield single. He then stole second base easily. Have we mentioned just how fast this kid is? Wow.

Eugenio Suarez drove in the tying run in the 9th.


Hoover after grand slam

Not so random thoughts………….

Cubs manager Joe Maddon double switched his reliever, Travis Wood into left field in the 13th inning. Then it seemed like he lost his marbles when Joel Peralta (the pitcher he double switched in) only faced one batter. It was looking like Maddon had lost his marbles when he started the 14th with Spencer Patton on the mound and Wood still in LF. Patton faced one batter, then Maddon put Wood into pitch, and sent Spencer Patton into LF. Wood faced one batter (Jay Bruce), then went back to LF! Patton finished the inning off. Travis Wood then pitched the entire 15th inning, while Maddon put Pedro Strop (another reliever) in LF. Just insane.

Ok, it is time for robot umps. Seriously?

Up Next:

Cubs at Reds
Wednesday, 12:30 PM
TV: MLB Network (select areas)
Cody Reed (6.75 ERA) vs Kyle Hendricks (2.76 ERA)


All statistics used courtesy of Fangraphs, ESPN Stats & Info, and Baseball-Reference (including Baseball-Reference Play Index). All photos used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Kareem Elgazzar and are used by permission.

65 thoughts on “Reds bullpen throws 8.1 no-hitting innings, but Hoover happens in the 15th

  1. Amazing bullpen performance until the Reds got Hooverized in the 15th. I’ve never seen a pitcher groove some many pitches. Groover Hoover.
    Another team record set tonight I heard. Most grand slams given up in a season. And not even half way through this season. To quote the retiring Dick Enberg, “Oh my!.”

  2. It is just over 12 hours till Wednesday’s game. The AAA Bats are in Buffalo. If there is an all night car rental place, hopefully the Reds will have a fresh pitcher in Cincy by game time to replace Hoover. Of course they will probably option Smith instead because he pitched multiple innings

      • Jumbo pitched a third of an inning Monday (8 pitches). Doesn’t seem like that should have been a factor; but, maybe it was.

        Maybe Price had already just had it with Hoover after the meltdown versus the Pads and sent him out there to prove a point to the FO?

        • Too many conspiracy theories, Jim ! Price just preferred Hoover. After Hoover had a few dominating outings with the Bats Price felt he was back, putting him in high leverage situations (where he did well) right away. Then came the disaster vs. San Diego. After that, given Hoover’s shaky confidence, I would have preferred to see Jumbo tonight.

          Jumbo has pitched horribly with the Reds this season, but he’s shown much more with the Bats – especially of late – than Hoover did, and he’s just not as a much of a choke artist.

    • Hoover’s results were often better than his peripherals which has always suggested that his ERA wasn’t reflective of how he’s actually pitched. The exception to that was 2014 when he was bad. I’ve never seen anything like this though and I don’t think anyone could have predicted he’d be this bad.

  3. It felt like 2014 all over again, waiting for Hoover to come in and lose it in extras. After Maddon brought in Peralta to face Votto in the 13th with runners on 1st and 2nd and one out, and Joey ripped a line drive that missed going over Zobrist’s glove by about 2 inches, leading to a double play, I was just waiting for Hoover to end it.

    They should call him Grand Slam Hoover. I’m not going to look up how many grand slam HRs he’s given up, but it’s an impressive number, and climbing.

    • On the slow motion replay, I thought then Votto ball in the 13th looked like topspin took hold; and, it curled down just enough at the last second for Zobrist to catch it. It appeared to something of a snow cone job too. He was probably fortunate to control it once it hit his glove.

      DeJesus was looking right at it; and totally misread it; so, it must have curled or dived on dime for an infielder like him to have misjudged so badly.

      • The tv guys said DeJesus was “running on contact”, but I’ve never heard of running on contact from 2nd base with 1 out.

        • On the replay I saw, I thought he did a crow step hop looking right at the ball then broke as he picked up the flight of the ball. For sure once he broke, his back was to the play; and, he had no idea it had been caught.

  4. The Reds’ decision to DFA Ramirez over Hoover is baffling. Ramirez is inconsistent, albeit with plus to plus plus stuff. Hoover is consistently terrible, and deserves the Home Run Hoover moniker. Hoover’s repertoire is mediocre for a MLB reliever, especially given his predilection for pitching down the middle and up in the zone. There’s no upside there, and JJ makes more money than Ramirez did to boot.

    Maybe he has incriminating pics of Walt, Dick, and Bob. Nothing else justifies Hoover wasting a roster spot in a rebuild year.

    • Even when he’s at his best, Hoover gives up a lot of walks and a lot of HRs. In his 4 pitch walk to Zobrist, not a single pitch was close. And his pitch to Baez was what he does with the bases loaded – throw a belt high meatball right over the middle of the plate.

      • On a 1-2 pitch. I realize he doesn’t want to go 3-2 with the bases loaded; but, at 1-2 he has a pitch to play with before he has to commit to throwing a strike.

        • And Baez chases pitches out of the strike zone worse than any other major league hitter I can think of. You saw his AB against Smith.

    • I was surprised by the Ramirez move too, when he can throw his slider for strikes he’s very effective. Not surprised that he was claimed by the Angels.

    • You make some good points but Hoover has had some past success in MLB and Ramirez hasn’t. Also, as MLB contracts are guaranteed, the fact that Hoover makes more money than Ramirez means that he is more likely to be kept, not less likely. The Reds owe him the money rather they release him or not. Also, not sure or not but the Reds may have optioned Hoover earlier in the year. If that’s the case, they could option him again and not need to expose him to waivers. If that’s the case, DFA for Ramirez makes even less sense.

  5. The Reds tv broadcasters were all over Votto for poor defense on two plays. On the 2 base error, they referred to him as trying to “ole” it, a term I’ve heard applied to his defense a lot this year. And on Heyward’s single in the 15th, the ball was hit hard but close enough for him to glove it without a dive. Instead he made an unnecessary dive that made a difficult play (he was holding Zobrist at first) more difficult. I’ve heard broadcasters from other teams refer to the exact same thing – Votto unsuccessfully diving for balls that he could glove by bending over.

    He did make a spectacular play, a throw home from flat on his back, later in the 15th, but by then the Cubs had taken the lead.

    • I think when all was said and done with Votto’s knee injury, its turned out he has little to no lateral movement at all. To me that’s the only plausible explanation for why he makes the ole swipe and doesn’t get in front of grounders anymore or dives instead of stepping etc.

      • That’s a good guess. The scary thing is it will get worse as he ages. Between him and Suarez, the Reds corner IF defense is very leaky. At least in the case of Suarez, he’s quick and might get better.

      • “I think when all was said and done with Votto’s knee injury, turned out he has little to no lateral movement at all”

        What. Votto’s lateral movement is out standing. He moves out of the way of every ground ball hit with any pace at all !!!!

        • Don’t forget how well he moves out of the way of inside pitches that are strikes 😉

        • “Dang it Dorn! Get in front of the ball!!” … Yes, Votto’s defense hasn’t been very good. Most 1B aren’t particularly good but Votto has been better in the past. It does bother me that he seems to prefer fielding grounders to his sides rather than getting in front of the ball. This is especially true at 1B where you have more time and if you knock the ball down, there’s still a fair chance you get the out at 1B.

      • Marty also praised him when he made a great play in the 15th. If you are a major leaguer and you routinely play grounders to the side, you should be hammered.

        • At this point you have to blame the coaching. They need to say “Get in front of grounders or we’re benching you.”

          Honestly, coaches have the power. Since they aren’t doing this, I have to think they condone it. Maybe Joey’s even worse now if he gets in front of it?

  6. I agreed with Hatcher’s sending BP home, with 2 outs and a chance to tie, you have to force them to make a play. There was maybe a 40% chance that BP would be safe, which is better than the odds of his scoring if he doesn’t go. BP would have been out except for his brilliant slide, but that’s one thing he can still do.

    Speaking of which, I think Hatcher has quietly done an excellent job as 3rd base coach, at least when I’ve been watching. When someone has been thrown out going home, it’s been it situations with 2 outs where the risk was called for.

    The best argument that Hatcher has done a good job is that it has been quiet – you only hear about the 3rd base coach when he screws up.

    • Should have pinch run for Phillips. Runner then is on third after Bruce’s hit. Then Bruce moves to second, then two runs score.

  7. Not that it will happen again, but the Reds relievers 8.1 no hit innings did not look fluky. I mean they were pitching well, not giving up hard hit balls, and it wasn’t a total miracle if you consider who was pitching. Iglesias is good – I like it that Price is using him for 2 innings at a time. Cingrani walked 2 and otherwise pitched well – typical. Smith has been really good lately, he was making the Cubs look silly. And Wood is capable when he’s throwing strikes. Once a weak pitcher came in, you could see the difference right away.

    • Agreed. There certainly is talent in the ‘pen now. When it call comes together it looks halfway decent.

      Hoover, however, is done. He’s never been good. Now he’s bad. There’s no reason to hang on to him.

  8. This game reminded me of a 1986 long extra inning loss to the Mets, where Dave Johnson was alternating LHed Jesse Orosco and RHed Roger McDowell between extra inning pitching and playing LF. But Maddon outdid that by putting a 3rd LFer out there.

    That game is well remembered for 2 other things. Ray Knight did not like Eric Davis’s popup slide when he stole 3rd base, so he sucker punched Davis squarely in the jaw.
    Knight said he did it because he was “scared”. He had some sort of background as an amateur boxer, but if it were allowed to continue, I would have put my money on Eric the Red, a powerful guy.

    The Reds had apparently won the game, when John Franco induced a routine fly ball from Keith Hernandez to Dave Parker for the 3rd out in the 9th. But Parker did his showboat “snap the glove down” one-handed catch. When he did, he slapped the ball to the ground, allowing the Mets to tie the game.

    Eventually Howard Johnson won it for the Mets with a HR, a nightmarish loss for the Reds.

  9. Nice recap of a wild one, Nick. I agree with you about Peraza’s speed: Wow.
    He can’t be much slower than Hamilton.

    • I actually think Peraza is as fast as Hamilton in game situations. Seems to me like Peraza has more leg strength and gets better acceleration. Hamilton, likely, still has the higher top speed.

      Think about it… Billy was an “80 grade” speed as a 21-22 year old. He’s now, what, 25? Speed declines as you age, even in your early 20s.

      Peraza is currently a “70 grade,” according to scouts. It’s not inconceivable that Billy is also a 70 at this point.

      • This and defender arm strength are the two things I’d love for Statcast info to be publicly available by MLBAM. They capture running speed and times between bases. It would be great to see that data. I know they had Hamilton to 2B in less than 4 seconds on his steal the other day. Still 80 speed in my book.

  10. Enough already !!! I thought we”d seen the last of J Edgar a few weeks ago! Now I know Price is a pitching coach but he needs to dump this reclamation project… Dude is toxic karma… Sad but true. Hoover has to GO !!!!!

  11. To paraphrase the late Paul Brown – it’s time for JJ Hoover to get on with his life’s work.

        • I first read about it as a Lombardi line in a book about him probably at least 35 years ago. That would seemingly take Noll out as the originator but leave PB in the mix as a possibility.

  12. Man, I remember when ole Steve here claimed Hoover to be the closer of the future a few years ago.

    You guys don’t get too many predictions wrong…

    • To be fair, that article (link below) predicted that Hoover would be the next closer, not that he should be or would be great at it. In that sense, it was exactly right because Hoover was the closer at the start of this year. Of course, didn’t foresee Hoover having this kind of season.


  13. I dislike JJ Hoover the pitcher. I’m sure he is a nice guy, but this is the type of player the Reds cannot have in the organization. He’s a Loser. That weak sauce he throws up there is contagious. get rid of him.

    Of course the Reds have a horrible habit of holding onto relievers who can’t get it done. See: Ondrusek, Logan.

    Joe Maddon is a genius. Of course being in 1st place by a lot affords him the luxury of trying out his “crazy” ideas.

    • Pairing Joe Maddon with Epstein and Hoyer just doesn’t seem fair from a competitive balance perspective.

      • And when you compare that trio to their conterparts on the Reds?

        I swear – you’d think someone smart in the Reds organization would look at what the Cubs are doing and make a connection.

        Instead, we’re concentrating on “speed and defense” Ugh. Sickening.

        • Defense isn’t a bad thing. Neither is speed. Unless they are at the exclusion of everything else.

          Peraza may be used as an example. I don’t think it’s a good one. He can hit. Maybe not for power, but a high contact guy isn’t the worst thing in the world. He also can play multiple positions.

          The Cubs Jason Heyward singing could be viewed as a “defense” type of signing. Sure, he’s got a much higher upside as a hitter than most defensive guys, but he’s really only slightly above average as a hitter and he got $180M. Can you imagine the flak the Reds would get for signing Heyward to that kind of deal? He’s a 10-15 homer guy at this point.

  14. That was again a fun game to watch. They are becoming more frequent. Maddon was briliant in managing his in-game strategies and the Reds matched the Cubs through 14 innings. Lamb v. Lester turned the game over to their respective bullpens with a duel no-decision. While watching the game and checking off the pitchers available in the bullpen, the Old Cossack had some delusion that after Price had astutely utilized Smith to bail out Cingrani and throw 2 more complete innings and with Jumbo, Lorenzen and even Ohlendorf still available in the bullpen, Hoover would be the last option to pitch in such a competitive game.

    As far as I’m concerned, that loss falls direct at the feet of Price.

    • Hoover was probably the “long man” Price was going to leave in the game until it was settled; but, it just didn’t take long long to get settled.

      • I’m basing this on the comment Price made in Atlanta a couple of weeks ago when the Reds scored 2 runs to take the lead in an extra innings game only to have Alfredo Simon meltdown and turn the game into a loss in the bottom of the inning (without recording a single out if my memory serves correctly).

    • I agree mostly. But about half the loss goes on Price. The other half goes to the offense. They had a few chances to win the game but couldn’t pull it off. Well before the 15th inning flop.

  15. Fan graph should have ran -80% Hoover enters game. The Reds did have a few chances to win the game but not all can be put on the offense. Everyone talks about more plate discipline but Duval struck out looking taking one pinch that was borderline and the another that was clearly outside. You can blame Duvall for taking a third call strike on the first one but you really can’t for the second one. Then Joey just got unlucky. DeJesus clearly thought the ball was going to clear the infield and was thinking about scoring from second, which he would have but for a couple more inches of height on the ball.

    • Agree on the Duvall comment except my memory is that it was the 1st one he chirped about and that the graphics showed as high and outside.
      On the one he didn’t question, I thought maybe he figured he wasn’t going to get his bat on it anyway and took it hoping to get the call.
      I thought the ump was somewhat consistent on that location being a strike to RH batters of both teams but wouldn’t give the same physical location relative to the plate as an inside strike versus LH batters.

  16. This loss is on the offense period.You are at home and after you tie it in the ninth you can’t do anything.This offense is the same as in the past just a bunch of hackers.

  17. It would be nice to see one of the cincy media step up and ask our GM why a player like Hoover is on the major league roster. I mean lets hear what positives he see’s in this guy and how is it there is zero other options in the minor league system to replace him.

  18. The Cubs have a very nice young reliever in CJ Edwards. I think he pitched the 11th inning. He mowed right through the heart of the Reds lineup. What was Chris Welsh calling him? The stringbean slinger I think. Edwards was a 48th round draft pick. The draft cuts off at 40 rounds nowadays.
    I saw Edwards pitch 2 years ago at AA at a Tennessee-Pensacola game. He was a starter then. Nice pitcher. He can throw some smoke as he hit 97-98 last night. This time next year he may very well be the Cubs closer.

  19. Today is game #79 for the season. After Friday’s game vs. Washington, assuming no rain outs, game #81 will be complete and exactly one-half of the season will be completed.
    As it stands now, Jay Bruce is on pace for 35 HR’s and 121 RBI’s. Both would be career highs. If he maintains his .275 BA, that will be his second highest BA, second only to .281 in 2010.
    This has to be causing a large predicament in the Reds front office. Keep Jay Bruce for the re-build or trade while his value is high.

    • I tend to think Jay Bruce’s price will be too expensive, especially if he keeps hitting up to the trade deadline.

      Maybe the Reds should keep him if the price were right, but it’s unlikely that the price will be right.

      Trade him.

    • Yeah and if he keeps up that pace or advances it further, I think I may owe someone (@Reganspad perhaps) a steak dinner. I think he said 40 HR and 120 RBI and I said something like “I love Jay Bruce but I’ll buy you a steak dinner if he makes those numbers.”

  20. Certainly a tough way to lose but also a lot to like in this game. Eight and a third scoreless innings by the relief corps is a positive and indicates the relief pitching is slowly improving. Lamb is a diamond in the rough and has a way to go but I see him as a solid lefty starter which the Reds have had few in the last 10-15 years. Lets see what Cody Reed can do today.

Comments are closed.