Titanic Struggle Recap

I Love Fireworks! Wait…

Today, Cody Reed made his second consecutive start against the powerhouse Chicago Cubs lineup.  In his last start at GABP, he gave up 7 ER in 4 IP.  Some of that was perhaps Adam Duvall’s fault.  Today, Reed gave up 8 R (4 earned) in 4 IP at the Friendly Confines. Does that qualify as progress?

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BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WIN PERCENTAGE | SOLDIERS

The Good
-Watching baseball in America on Independence Day is one of life’s best things.  No matter the outcome, today was a good day.

-Joey Votto got on base three times, with 2 singles and a BB.  He’s doing that a lot lately.  He has a .477 OBP since the start of June.  He also had a heads-up base running play on a missed “neighborhood play,” advancing to 3rd and allowing Duvall’s fly ball to medium-deep right field to score the first run.

-Zack Cozart doubled and homered.  That is encouraging, given that he’s been scuffling for awhile, batting only .200/.296/.364 over the last month.  In the 7th, he went back-to-back with Eugenio Suarez, which cut the Reds deficit from 10-1 to 10-4.

The Bad
-Cody Reed has drawn the short straw, with half of his MLB starts coming against the Cubs.  Regardless, he hasn’t helped himself.  In the first inning, he hit rookie Willson Contreras on the foot with a pitch in a 1-2 count with 2 outs in the inning.  If he gets Contreras, he saves himself 3 runs.  Overall, his command has been pretty poor just about every game.  He’s got the stuff, he just needs to put it together.  There will be better days.  Worrying about a 23 year old after 4 starts is not something I’d advise.

-Brandon Phillips made an error on a somewhat routine grounder as he ranged to his left.  The next batter, Kris Bryant, homered.  Bryant leads all position players in the NL in Wins Above Replacement (WAR).  Phillips now has 10 errors on the season.  He hasn’t had 10 errors in a season in over a decade.

-Eugenio Suarez let a routine grounder go through his legs in the 4th with 2 outs and the bases loaded.  That allowed two runs to score.  Suarez has 14 errors on the season.  According to the Error Runs (ErrR) component of Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR), his errors have allowed about 5 more opponent runs than an average 3rd baseman.

-The Reds bullpen, while not giving up an exorbitant amount of runs (for them), allowed a lot of base runners.  Another bad performance.

Somewhat Random-ish Thoughts
-The Reds are now 0-5 in games I recap, if memory serves.

-Today, the Reds announced the firing of Mark Riggins as pitching coach.  Read about it here. This likely won’t matter much, but I think people just wanted blood with how historically bad this staff has been.

-It can’t feel good to be Reed, struggling to find your command and your infielders are booting the ball all over the field.  Or your outfielders are having balls carom off their jaws.

-If you lower the IP requirements to fit Reed into the sample, he began the day 3rd in the NL in K/9, behind Jose Fernandez and Max Scherzer.  At least that is something.

-The Cubs reached base 8 times via BB or HBP. The non-Votto Reds reached base 0 times via BB or HBP.

-Perhaps Willson Contreras stole an “L” from Welington Castillo.  A victimless crime, to be sure.

Tweet of the Game
ToTG

StatCast Update
Today’s game featured the following hard-hit balls:

Addison Russell, 1st inning RBI single, 101 mph
Jason Heyward, 1st inning RBI double, 105 mph
Kris Bryant, 2nd inning homer, 107 mph
Willson Contreras, 2nd inning homer, 108 mph
Joey Votto, 6th inning single, 105 mph
Anthony Rizzo, 6th inning single, 102 mph
Addison Russell, 6th inning homer, 101 mph
Jay Bruce, 8th inning single, 106 mph
Jason Hammel, 8th inning single, 104 mph

(Cozart’s homer was 93mph, Suarez’s homer had a StatCast malfunction)

Every single ball hit at 100mph or harder this game was a hit. Hitting the ball hard is important. Hard hit balls turn into hits more often than balls not hit hard. The magnitude of the importance of hitting the ball hard can be seen with this chart:

exitvelo

Brandon Phillips has a .566 BA and a 1.200 SLG on pitches hit 100+ mph.  That’s basically worst on the team.  Worst in the majors is Lucas Duda, still with a .417 BA.  Hit the ball hard consistently and you’ll be a productive hitter.

Tomorrow’s Game
For those of you “looking forward to” tomorrow’s game, it can be found same time and same place.  Brandon Finnegan will square off against John Lackey.

44 thoughts on “I Love Fireworks! Wait…

  1. That mighty Nats offense that just creamed the Reds, were shut out 1-0 today.

    • Reds pitching is so bad that it turns everyone into Ricky Hendersons: supremely confident and referring to themselves in the third person.

      “Don’t worry Ricky, you’re still the best.”
      —Ricky Henderson to himself after a strike out

      Once they return to non-Reds pitching it takes a few days to become reacquainted with MLB reality.

  2. Poor Billy hits the ball hard about as often as my kid used to cut the grass the first time I asked him. Without looking it seems like the very next game after he got his average up to .270 that he’s been getting under the ball and popping up and hitting weak flyballs again instead of slashing at the ball. If GABP was a bigger park then Billy might have more value with his D but he can’t stop walks/HRs and he’s not even running as much when he does get on?

    I don’t want to just unload on BP because this trainwreck is obviously not his fault BUT in his 2nd atbat he swung at atleast 3 balls out of the strike zone before K’ing on a 3-2 fb right down the middle! He’s over the hill and his approach at the plate is the exact opposite of what the Reds are trying to move forward with in the future. His concentration seems to be waning with these routine errors. Cut him loose already! What are they waiting on? Surely they’re not planning on bringing him back next year?

    I hope they can resign Bruce somehow but they definitely need to get rid of Cozart and BP. Lets see if Suarez could screw up slightly less often at 2B? Play Curtis/Duvall at 3B plus get Schebler/Selsky some atbats? This has been a throwaway year since late April and I get that but make real changes! Lorenzen wants to start and probably has the best arm in the organization! Turn him loose….maybe 5 ip like Maddon used Hendricks!

  3. Obviously hitting the ball hard is better than not, but I’m hesitant to conclude a cause and effect between hard hit balls and base hits.

    I feel like it would be more of a correlation. When you hit the ball more solid, i.e. line drives over pop ups and grounder a, you’re more likely to get hits. At the same time, hitting the ball more solid means you’re going to hit it harder.

    So not just hit it really hard and you’ll get a hit, but hit it square and you’ll both hit it hard and for a hit

    • Go stand at shortstop/3b/or CF….or pitchers mound with your glove and catch a ball hit in your direction at 100 mph vs 75 mph and then say you are hesitant to conclude a cause and effect between hard hit balls and base hits.
      Hitting IS exit velocity. Pitching is slowing it down.
      Every scout and every team measures exit velocity as the #1 metric of a young hitter and is the reason Billy Hamilton can’t hit. The Reds simply bypassed his poor exit velocity and took him anyway because of his lightning speed, figuring they could coach him up with bunting and hitting coaches.

      • 1. I have. I played.

        2. Hitting a ball 105 mph straight into the ground is still a 105 mph ground out

        • Which has a better chance of getting through an infield than a Billy Hamilton auto-out.

        • Bat path and plate discipline are important pre-requisites to maximizing exit velocity. Yes, Joey Votto can hit a high pop up to the center fielder hard, and that’s why his average exit velocity is 92.5 mph and not 97 mph.
          Its impossible to hit a ball pitched at 93 mph perpendicularly into the ground at 105 mph.
          The best hitters have the best exit velocities the most consistently- period.

        • “Straight” into the ground was a figure of speech, not literal, but if you need to use it that way ok

        • And also are they the best hitters because they have the highest exit velocity or do they have the highest exit velocity because they’re the best hitters?

          That’s my entire point

        • No- you needed to use it YOUR way to create a fictional scenario of that magical 105 mph ground ball that goes straight into the ground for a routine out. Doesn’t exist. Eugenio Suarez struggles with the 86 mph ball 3 feet away from him.
          Feel free to walk back from your absurd contention that how hard a batter hits a baseball doesn’t effect the outcome of the batted ball in play.

        • Do you understand what a figure of speech is??

          Yes, I understand you cannot physically hit a ball literally perpendicular to the ground. Move on.

          But yes, you can hit a hard ground ball. Baseballs aren’t airplanes; they don’t magically take off into the air just because you hit it hard.

          And if you want to talk about absurd contentions, you can never hit a ball 105 mph for an out? Really? Never ever, in the history of baseball? Has never happened, never will?

          I will most certainly not “walk back” on anything. Haven’t to this point and don’t plan on doing so.

          I never said how hard you hit the ball has no affect. Go back and read my argument one more time, which I will repeat again, is that I WONDER if it just MAY be a CORRELATION and not a CAUSATION.

        • sure- you are “hesitant to conclude a cause and effect between hard hit balls and base hits.”
          and …”you wont walk back on that…..never have and never will….”

          Ok. pretty clear. I will let your words stand and not add anything further.

    • I think there is a very clear causation between hard-hit balls and base hits. namely, that the harder you hit a a ball, the better the chance of a base hit.

      Obviously, not every hard-hit ball goes for a hit. And not every soft hit is an out. We’ve all seen multiple instances of hard-hit grounders or line drives that go right at someone for an out. And we’ve all seen weak popups fall in for a hit, or weak grounders beaten out for an infield hit.

      The point is that hitting the ball hard correlates with a better chance of getting a hit. A hard-hit grounder is probably going to get through unless it’s hit right at the infielder, whereas a more-slowly hit ball will give the defender time to get over and field it and make an out. A softly-hit line drive would also give a fielder more time to react and get in fielding position, than a hard-hit ball. That’s just common sense.

      That said, how a ball is hit (line drive vs grounder vs flyball) matters too. Line drives are certainly the best for getting hits. Ground balls are more likely to result in a base hit than a fly ball, but are the least likely to result in an extra-base hit.

  4. “-Today, the Reds announced the firing of Mark Riggins as pitching coach. Read about it here. This likely won’t matter much, but I think people just wanted blood with how historically bad this staff has been.”

    I don’t know any fan that wanted blood…they just want rookies to play and the season to mercifully end, with a few trades before July 31st that actually return a potential stud prospect, instead of #10 rated prospects from some of the worst farm systems in baseball.

    • Have you been over on the Reds MLB site? Lots of posters there want blood, but it’s Price and Jocketty’s primarily.

  5. I agree that Reed needs some work, but since Powers is now our bullpen coach we should see our pitchers improve without having to ship them down to Louisville. I feel relatively sure the reason our pitchers made improvements in AAA has a lot to do with Power’s tutaliag. I hope he proves me right.

    • I hope so, too, but don’t discount the difference between pitching to AAA hitters v. MLB hitters.

  6. I was off the grid pretty much all afternoon although I did catch enough of a radio snippet to conclude that things were going badly, to say the least. for the Reds early on.

    I was finally in my car headed home just in time to catch the post game remarks on Reds radio. Marty was asking Cowboy Brantley if Reed needed to go back to AAA. The Cowboy danced a little then said well if Reed couldn’t put together a good start pretty soon that’s the way it looked to him.

    Then I arrived home and read a tweet from @zachENQ which said “Bryan Price said the team has no interest in sending Reed down. Said he’s better than Triple-A and needs to learn up here.”

    Given Price’s recent track record (re:Phiilips in the batting order), I concluded there is probably an even money chance Reed will be back in AAA soon.

    • Reed needs much better control. He can not locate his pitches. When he has to throw a strike in a tough spot he is hammered. This could be mechanical or it could be a head issue. The good ones overcome the problem. Those who don’t find another line of work. One thing for sure he is not an instant success. Hang around long enough and he could be a situational lefty. Not a bad gig if you are good enough.

      • Zack Greinke was like 5-18 with a high era in his 2nd year so lets not rush to judgement! He’s been horrible though?

  7. Reed has conquered the minor leagues. IMHO he needs to learn at the big league level. The Reds aren’t winning anything this year except another high draft slot. Let him learn in Cincinnati.

  8. Amir Garrett pitched tonite in Indy. 6ip 3 er, 3 hits, 1 hr, 2 bb, 3 ks. Not a great performance but he gave up 3 in the first 2 innings and settled down. I watched some of his highlights on video for the first time tonite. He’s got a pretty simple & repeatable delivery and looks very athletic on the mound. He K’d someone in the 1st inning of his last start and they said it was 94 mph! I’m going to the Wed afternoon game and of course I’ll pass on what I see. It would nice if Bob Steve is pitching but I have no idea?

    One other thing….Jermaine Curtis 2-3 with 2 walks tonite and he had a .400 obp coming in! I’d blow this thing up and cut BP and move Suarez to 2b. Let Curtis leadoff and play 3B for a while. Why not? Maybe he could be a Jerry Hairston for a few years or a platoon player.

    • “Why not……” easily said because it isn’t your ~$20M additional that would be paid to a guy no longer on the team 🙂

      It is likely to come down to releasing him or paying out half or more of the 2017 salary to move him, that is if they can get him to agree to go. However I think that happens early in the off season, one of the first acts of the undisputed Dick Williams era versus the two headed situation they have now.

      I also believe Phillips has made his peace with the situation no matter which way it unfolds. If the money is there to move and he likes the location, he will take it and go. If not he will stay and let them release him, if they so choose, with little or no public repercussion. I will be very surprised if he attempts to play anywhere in 2018 or beyond unless it is folded into a deal as he leaves the Reds.

  9. First off, I apologize if this offends anyone on here, as that is not my intent. Now…

    You’re declaring Reed a bust (or someone who “could be a situational lefty”) after a few starts, you’re still on the “FIRE BRYAN PRICE!” wagon (we all know he’s gone, but it’s better for the Reds if he stays out his contract money-wise), you keep complaining about the bullpen when we don’t have any real solutions for it (I’m half-convinced the Reds are actually intentionally having an awful bullpen in order to throw games for the first overall pick – not a bad idea), among countless other things.

    Baseball is not a day-to-day sport where hot-takes on subjects are given credence. It’s a sport played over a long season, which I know can be tough when a team is rebuilding. That’s the thing, though; the Reds are rebuilding. They don’t care about the short-term results; they’re looking at the long-term picture. Many of the commenters on this site are throwing out suggestions like, “Put Lorenzen, Iglesias, Lamb, Finnegan, Reed in the bullpen immediately! (or some combination of those)” If the Reds did that, then we’d have a fantastic bullpen for *this year*, but they’d be missing out on experience as long-term starters. If we fired Bryan Price, we’d still have a terrible team (and a new manager to hate) but we’d also have to eat his salary as well as pay the new manager.

    Now, do some of the things the Reds do infuriate me? Sure! I can’t stand the fact that we just signed a 22 year old defense-first SS to more than our international budget and then proceeded to sign no other big-money prospects, particularly when every other prospect signed for less than Rodriguez. I’m irritated by the lack of news on the trade front for Cozart and Bruce. I’m irritated by the continued batting of Phillips at 3 (although that may change soon). I’m irritated by the lack of playing time to Peraza, the fact that we haven’t even given Jermaine Curtis a shot yet, the continual forcing of Billy Hamilton to switch hit when he doesn’t want to, and other things as well.

    But y’know what? Our front office has done a lot of things right. They managed to snag Reed, Finnegan, and Lamb from the Royals. They managed to steal Duvall and Suarez, who weren’t valued by their former teams. They clearly have a plan (defense + speed and pitching), and are sticking to it during this rebuild. You can (and will!) disagree with them on certain decisions, but it doesn’t inherently make them a bad front office.

    We’re going to lose a lot of game this year, but it’s going to be okay. Calm down. Step away from the keyboard. Enjoy the youngsters this year and watch them grow. Don’t get down on them just because of a few bad starts or at bats. Remember that a lot of our “up-and-coming” players are 25 or under and have plenty of time to find their footing in the big leagues. Enjoy watching a potential future hall of famer in Joey Votto rather than looking for reasons to hate him. Remind yourself that he could hit 1.000 and it wouldn’t make this a playoff team.

    And most of all, remember that it’s always darkest just before the dawn. In a few years, we could easily be looking back on this season and seeing the foundation of our World Series winning Redlegs.

  10. I found the info in your chart, “Stats on Balls Hit at 100 MPH or Harder” to be really interesting, especially that in the AVG column? Is there a site where I can view your chart’s stats for any MLB player?

    • There sure is! Daren WIlman, who created Baseball Savant (and was then hired by MLB as director of MLB Advanced Media), has a front end that queries the MLB’s statcast database. Play around! Lots of interesting things to be found, including heatmaps and spray charts based on statcast data.

      So, just go to baseballsavant.mlb.com and click on “Statcast Search” I think. My internet is acting up at work so the page won’t load for me at the moment.

  11. Texas is supposedly talking to TB about pitcher Jake Odorizzi for their young slugger Joey Gallo. I don’t know anything about Odorizzi (3.91 era) but they just saw Disco pitch very well against them. I’d hate to lose Disco since he might be as good or better then anyone we have but this Gallo kid might be a lefty Duvall. Gallo will be 23 in Nov. and has 14 hrs/.940 ops in AAA this year.

    • Interesting comp. They both can play OF and 3B and have crazy power. Although, to be honest, Gallo’s power is on another level from Duvall. Gallo is a true 80, while Duvall is probably more like 65+ or 70.

      Either way, I think swing-and-miss sluggers in the minors are too risky. Just my opinion.

  12. That is an interesting proposition. Always have thought that Disco most valuable trade chip. Would do it if I had a settled feeling about Reed.
    Have to give to get.

    • If Disco pitches like he has been then he might bring more than Bruce? HRs are way up this year which might devalue Jay a wee bit? Heck Espinosa is on pace for 30+ HRs batting 8th for Dusty. Disco is such a competitor too though? I’m thinking his ceiling is kind of what they paid Homer for……3.50ish era and 200ish innings.

      • It kind of makes sense on some level, but Disco isn’t a free agent until 2021 which not only makes him extremely valuable, but also aligns well with their rebuilding process. It would take more than Gallo, in my opinion, another well regarded prospect.

        Gallo is an interesting case. He’s an elite prospect but his strikeout percentage would have me terrified if I was the GM. He basically makes Adam Dunn look like a contact hitter and would probably drive everyone crazy.

        • More than a top 5-10 prospect in all of baseball for disco? I guess crazier things have happened, I heard the reds, desperate for high on base guys, once signed a 22 yo international player with zero on base skills for 7 million dollars.

        • Gallo is not the typical top 5-10 type prospect. He is very high risk/reward. A 30+ percent strikeout rate in the minors sends huge red flags that can’t be ignored. Cost controlled #3 (or maybe even #2) starters are super valuable.

    • Agree. Disco is probably the Reds current most valuable trade chip. However, I think trading him would be a monumental mistake. Several years of #3-ish starter performance is very valuable, especially to a rebuilding staff.

      • I agree. I thought at the beginning of the season that DeSclafani would make an ideal candidate for a Shelby Miller type of trade. With both DeSclafani and Iglesias going down early, that muted any trading desires. DeSclafani is the Reds only reliable starting pitcher. We don’t have Bailey back yet to see how he will rebound from TJ surgery. The hope is he returns to form in 2017. Hopefully Iglesias returns to the rotation for 2017 with a healthy shoulder. Two huge question marks for 2017 that make trading DeSclafani all the more remote. Add in the lack of development for Finnegan, Lamb, Reed, Moscot and Stephenson and that leaves DeSclafani as the only reliable pitcher in the Reds rotation, or even at AAA. The lack of development from these pitchers has made this season a lost season and has cost the team dearly in the re-development process.

        • Hopefully that Finnegan/Lamb/Reed development will happen in the second half and their seasons can be salvaged. I’m afraid that the starter door has closed for Iglesias. That “shoulder impingement” post that you guys did here was terrifying. If I were a MLB pitcher, I’d avoid shoulder surgery at all costs—even if it meant lower career earnings as a reliever. It’s too risky.

  13. I might take Gallo for Disco and I like Disco a lot! Esp since Bruce’s power is probably on the way out soon. I’m not a WAR guy but isn’t 20-25 HRs/.340 obp/avg D worth more then a #3 starter? Of course if they see Gallo as a guy like that?

  14. Side note – Votto passed Duvall in wRC+ this past week, now our leader at 123 (Duvall 119 or so). I chuckle – this has been a forgettable first half by Votto, and a career breakout by Duvall, and Joey is still better at the 1/2 way mark, and still ~25% better than average even at his worst. I suspect he’ll be 140-150 by end of year, as he always is. Their direct comparison I do believe is justified, given they both play less than influential defensive positions.

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