Game Thread

Reds at Nationals – July 3, 2016

Billy

Jumbo Tucker

The Cincinnati Reds (30-52) will go for a split in their four game series with the Washington Nationals (49-33). The Reds ended their five game losing skid last evening with a well fought, 9-4 win in 10 innings. Dan Straily pitched brilliantly, only allowing one hit through the first six innings. Zack Cozart and Tucker Barnhart lead the Reds with three hits apiece. Adam Duvall also had a pair of doubles for the good guys.

Starting Pitchers

LambStrasburg

John Lamb will be making his 12th start of the season for the Reds. Lamb is coming off a brilliant start against a very good Cubs lineup on Tuesday: 6.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 1 BB, 7 K. Here is what I wrote about Lamb in Tuesday’s game recap:

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).

Tonight will be Lamb’s first career appearance against the Nationals. The only player he has faced is Daniel Murphy (1 for 1).


Dusty Baker didn’t announce that Stephen Strasburg would start today’s game until yesterday. Today will be the first time he has pitched since June 15th, when he suffered a upper back injury against the Cubs.

Strasburg is one of the best pitchers in baseball when he can stay on the field. Well, that is what I thought, and I am sure you probably did too. That is actually a false narrative. He has made 129 starts since the start of 2012 (his first full season since coming back from TJS). That is the 29th most starts of anyone in the big leagues. Over that span, Strasburg ranks 14th among all pitchers in fWAR at 17.7. He is ahead of guys like Johnny Cueto (17.5) and Jake Arrieta (17.0).

Despite missing the past two weeks, Strasburg is still tied for 10th in MLB with 2.5 fWAR (t-6th in the NL). His 2.86 FIP is 6th in the MLB, and his 2.88 xFIP is 4th in the MLB. That is scary, because that means he could be getting even better as the year progresses. He is striking out a ton of hitters, as his 11.42 K/9 is good for 3rd best in the majors. His career 10.55 K/9 is the fifth best of any pitcher in MLB history with 850+ IP, and he is sandwiched in between Randy Johnson (10.61) and Kerry Wood (10.32).

Despite Strasburg’s greatness, he somehow has a career 5.55 ERA in 5 starts against the Reds. He faced the Reds on June 4th, and the Reds won that game 6-3: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 3 ER, 2 BB, 10 K. Joey Votto is 3 for 10 with 2 HR against Strasburg, and Jay Bruce 5 for 10 with 1 HR. Zack Cozart is 0 for 8.

Starting Lineups

Reds Nationals
1. Zack Cozart (SS)
2. Jose Peraza (LF)
3. Joey Votto (1B)
4. Jay Bruce (RF)
5. Eugenio Suarez (3B)
6. Brandon Phillips (2B)
7. Billy Hamilton (CF)
8. Ramon Cabrera (C)
9. John Lamb (P)
1. Michael Taylor (CF)
2. Jayson Werth (LF)
3. Bryce Harper (RF)
4. Daniel Murphy (2B)
5. Wilson Ramos (C)
6. Ryan Zimmerman (1B)
7. Clint Robinson (1B)
8. Anthony Rendon (3B)
9. Danny Espinosa (SS)
10. Stephen Strasburg (P)

Thankfully for my mental health and sanity, Joseph Daniel Votto is back in the Reds lineup. I’m guessing that his sliding injury on Friday was nothing too serious. Certainly the 30-win Redlegs wouldn’t rush him back, right?

Iglesias wants to be a closer

WCPO_Raisel_Iglesias_Reds_Pitcher

Here we go again. C. Trent Rosecrans had an article last night discussing how Iglesias is eyeing the closer role. In the article, Iglesias said “I like coming in from the bullpen. I want to be a closer.” This right here is why I was completely against putting a guy not healthy enough to start into the bullpen. It seems Iglesias has become comfortable in the bullpen.

We are going down the same road where the Reds wasted arguably their greatest arm in team history. In case you don’t believe me, Matt Garza has been worth the same wins above replacement as Aroldis Chapman since the start of 2011. Garza’s ERA and FIP are nearly two runs higher than Chapman’s. Hopefully the Reds stop this before it becomes an issue.

Other news and notes

Be sure to check out Chad Dotson’s post today about Pete Rose here on RN. I said in the comments: this is great, fair analysis of Pete Rose. This is probably the best way to remember the hit king. Thanks for sharing Chad!

Conclusion 

The Reds could get out of Washington with a series split. Could you even fathom that? John Lamb has been terrific lately. Today will be a big challenge for Lamb against one of the elite pitchers in baseball, but you know what? I think our guy is up for it. Go Reds!

 

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 are used by permission.

49 thoughts on “Reds at Nationals – July 3, 2016

  1. I can’t help wonder if this is a good opportunity for the Reds to get to a Strasburg (again). Just off the DL and the Nationals didn’t even know yesterday afternoon if he would be pitching today. Did he not do a rehab stint or at least get on a throwing schedule to make sure the injury was not lingering? Perhaps he’ll be a little more vulnerable today. Welcome back Joey Votto. Go Reds!

  2. I think I’m glad to see Joey back in the lineup today. Based on past experience, the Reds probably based their decision to put him back in the lineup based solely on Joey’s diagnisis of his shoulder. Let’s hope it was just a tweak and nothing more that will rear its ugly head after an extended performance drop.

  3. I don’t like Joey hitting in the #3 hole for this team, but without Phillips in the #3 hole, I guess that role defaults to Votto. If the Reds see Peraza as a leadoff hitter, I would like to see him hitting leadoff with Votto in the #2 hole.

    I’m sorry to see Price settling in with Hamilton hitting in the #7 hole. Hamilton hitting in the #9 hole seemed to work best and until Hamilton can deomstrate a long-term improvement in his plate-approach, there’s really no reason to take him out of the #9 hole, except Hamilton doesn’t want to hit in the #9 hole.

  4. A difference I see between the Chapman and Iglesias situations is that there is a body of evidence that perhaps Iglesias’ shoulder simply isn’t up to the rigors of starting. Hopefully they will get him through this season and embark on an off season shoulder strengthening program (again) then have a very cautious look at him as a starter in the spring.

    However, there seems to be a lot of feeling already that the verdict is going to be that like Cingrani, starting may be a step too far for Iglesias. If that turns out to be the case, get him into the pen and maximize his contribution. If the Reds team development lags to where he is an extraneous piece on a mediocre (or worse) team then bite the bullet and flip him. Better to do this and get some return on their $27M investment than to blow his shoulder out and be paying him for nothing.

    • Agreed. Eventually, when competitive, the Reds are going to need a closer and if Iglesias can get it done, so be it. Iggy and Chappy come out of a similar background but they are different players.

  5. I wish the Reds would put a stop to these guys saying what the PREFER. They should prefer to do what’s best for the team. Conversely, I believe they favored the Chapman statements at the time they took place because they (especially Baker) actually wanted him to be the closer. Like the “echo chamber” that politicians use to great effect, it worked because, after the statement, a majority of people (many on this site) started basically saying, “He can’t be a starter because he wants to be the closer.” As if it were up to him.

    • .My sense is Reds brass didn’t feel that Chapman possessed the professionalism, preparation or commitment to be a starter. Whether it be PFP or holding runners or bunting as a hitter or the mental and physical preparation needed between starts. He was the opposite of Johnny Cueto. Chapman’s off the field antics over the years validate that. Iglesias seems to be a different set of issues so I would not link the two

    • It would be short sighted and silly to not at least consider player preference. The Reserve Clause has been dead for 40 years so it certainly behooves a team to be seen as open minded and reasonable.

      If a player’s preference completely contradicts the best interest of the organization then tough decisions need to be made…..but it’s usually not so black and white

      • What I meant to say was that they should refrain from stating their preferences in the media because it could unnecessarily set up a public confrontation between player and team. Preferences should be known by front office but the player should keep it out of the media and do what’s best for the team. Reserve Clause? How often do the Reds re-sign their (soon to be) free agent stars? Bailey and Votto, both of whom want starts on a frequent basis. Most players sign elsewhere because of money, not because of open-minded front offices.

  6. What I find odd with these statements is that the players set themselves up to not get the money they could earn being a starter.Closers will never outlast nor out earn a good starter.Teams pay mega bucks for just average starting pitching in this day and time

    • Have to consider the society Chapman and Iglesias were raised in. $27M/30M in US$ was probably beyond their wildest reckoning even though they’d seen something of the world from being on the Cuban international team.

      Actually, I suspect there would be a lot of players and people in general in this country who’d be a lot happier if they had a more solid grasp of what is enough to versus how much can I maximize.

  7. Lamb just made Werth, Harper, and Murphy look silly! And that 66 mph change up to Harper was nasty! When Lamb is mixing pitches up, he is fun to watch.

  8. … and when he’s losing confidence and control, he’s not fun to watch! It’s all a part of trying to mature as a young pitcher.

    • I know what you mean.It’s like watching a rerun.You know what’s going to happen before it does.Lamb might as well threw that pitch underhand.I am so sick of watching this mess day after day.It’s unbearable to watch.I’m embarrassed to be a Reds fan right now.

  9. Marty isn’t wrong about these pitchers! Lamb can make them look stupid and then turn around and fall apart as fast as anyone! This team is hopeless. The Cubs can’t beat anyone but us now but don’t fear because you have 3 more cookies coming up.

    • And to my knowledge they haven’t filled the one opened when JC Ramirez was claimed off waivers. Don’t know what they are waiting for on with the lefty Peralta. Then maybe he is the next conversion project since he threw 6 scoreless innings the night Louisville had to cover for Sampson’s scheduled start….

        • Any idea who came on when Ramirez left? Jumbo got the 25 man call up but he was on option. Sampson came for Hoover; and, he was also on option.

        • No idea who went through the revolving door to get on the 40-man at that point. I’m wondering today whether there is a trade in the works, or whether it is more for someone like Peralta.

        • OK. Think I have it by process of elimination. Juan Duran was on the reserved list while suspended and did not cost them a roster spot.

          On 2 July he was activated to the 40 man (taking the Ramirez spot) and optioned to AA.

          On 3 July he had cleared waivers and was outrighted off the 40 man and assigned to the AA team where he already was….

  10. Sit Sampson back down. Get your 110 pitches out of Lamb. You just sent him up to the plate last inning

  11. I just told my son we have a reasonable chance of seeing a no hitter today. He didnt seem to appreciate the significance

  12. Strasburg will not finish this possible no-hitter. Too many pitches. Just off the DL. Votto has had the only good AB’s off him

  13. Maybe the Reds should start using position players as pitchers. Can’t be any worse.

  14. Beat up ‘pen made Sampson have to eat up more innings than he usually pitches. Brutal…

  15. Not a good day. This has turned into batting practice. On to Wrigley, Miami, and the needed ASB.

  16. This team makes the occasional win hurt worse the embarrassing losses. The only chance to shame the front office into cleaning house is 110 losses.

  17. Time for Paraza to take over for Phillips in the second half of the season. Phillips is done as a regular. We need to finally see daily progress in Paraza.

  18. Dodgers just outrighted Wayne Somsen off their 40 man. It took 3 tries but somebody finally got him through waivers. Interesting that the Reds acted so aggrieved at losing him yet passed twice at getting him back.

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