With this afternoon’s loss, the Reds are 32-56. Only the Atlanta Braves and Minnesota Twins have worse records. One more game to the All-Star break. Then it’s a new season, right?
This is one loss that can’t be blamed on the pitching. The Reds were poor at the plate, in the field and on the base paths. No way to go through the season.
John Lamb pitched really, really well today. The 25-year-old struck out nine (a career high) and walked none – that’s walked none – in five innings. He had pinpoint command of both sides of the plate while mixing up three pitches. Both Chris Welsh and Jeff Brantley mentioned that Lamb’s change-up was uber-effective. (“selling the change-up with conviction” – C. Welsh) The runs he gave up would have been prevented with basic, competent defense. One strike against Lamb is that he failed to get a bunt down in a key situation. As a group, Reds pitchers are bad at that.
Adam Duvall started the Reds scoring with a laser over the left field fence for his 23rd home run. The Reds scored their second run on Jay Bruce’s 20th double of the year and a single by Brandon Phillips.
Poor defense really cost the Reds. In the bottom of the first, Martin Prado hit a ground ball to the left of Eugenio Suarez. Suarez got a glove on it but instead of fielding it cleanly, the ball got away from him and rolled into left field. Prado ended up at second base. The run scored on a passed ball by Ramon Cabrera. The pitch was a strike (called a ball). Ramon Cabrera has had trouble catching balls right in his glove. It cost the Reds a run this time. Jay Bruce misplayed a fly ball that landed on the warning track that cost the Reds the next two runs.
Jumbo Diaz pitched the sixth giving up a hit but no runs. Michael Lorenzen retired the side in order in the seventh, with one K. But he walked the first two batters he faced in the 8th. After striking out Christian Yelich, Giancarlo Stanton wristed a broken-bat single into CF scoring a run. Lorenzen struck out the next batter and got Ichiro on a ball hit back to the mound.
Brandon Phillips played today with a hairline fracture in his left hand. The Reds could have rested him for two games before the All-Star break and played top prospect Jose Peraza. Chris Welsh said he found the situation “very curious” especially when the Reds have a “capable backup” who the team “really wants to see play.” Welsh concluded the decision “doesn’t make any sense.” Jim Day of FSO reported that Phillips has heard the talk about his decline and feels the need to prove he can still play. Reminder the Reds are six gazillion games below .500 and in the middle of Rebuild.
(If you’re the But-He-Got-Two-Hits, So-There guy, you’re sorta missing the point.)
Billy Hamilton was 0-4 with two Ks. He’s hitting .236/.284/.352 with a wRC+ of 66. He’s doing a little bit (very little) better than his awful 2015, but he’s well short of his also-not-great 2014 season. Maybe we dial back the “Billy is figuring it out” narrative for a while. Meanwhile, Eugenio Suarez was also 0-4 and is hitting .228/.295/.402.
Baseball America published an updated Top 100 Prospects list today, with three Reds making it: Amir Garrett #31, Robert Stephenson #65 and Jesse Winker #68. Cody Reed and Peraza were ineligible because they were not in the minor leagues on June 21. The two Cleveland prospects, Clint Frazier and Bradley Zimmer were #21 and #26 respectively. I still like Zimmer better.