2016 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Undefeated!

Final R H E
Milwaukee Brewers (38-50) 4 9 1
Cincinnati Reds (33-57) 5 9 1
W: DeSclafani (4-0) L: Garza (1-3) S: Ohlendorf (2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
The Cincinnati Reds are undefeated in the second half.

–Billy Hamilton was 2-4 with two runs scored. The way the Reds scored in the fourth inning was classic Hamilton. Billy reached on an infield single, then advanced to second on a groundout. After a Jay Bruce walk, Adam Duvall grounded to third. The Brewers tried to turn a double play, but couldn’t get Duvall at first.

Before anyone realized what was happening, Hamilton was almost to home plate. Yes, Billy Hamilton scored from second on a ground ball to third base. (And Adam Duvall got his 62nd RBI of the season on a fielder’s choice that probably should have been a double play. Baseball!)

Then, in the seventh inning, Billy dropped down a nice bunt, and forced Milwaukee’s catcher, Jonathan Lucroy, to hurry his throw. Next thing you know, it’s an E2 and Hamilton is standing on second base. A couple of pitches later, he stole third and later scored on a hit by Bruce.

I’m telling you, friends and neighbors: Billy Hamilton does things that no one else on earth can do.

–Bruce robbed a home run, despite advanced defensive metrics that told him he couldn’t do it. He also reached base three times, including a run-scoring double.

–In the sixth, Tucker Barnhart doubled in two runs to give the Reds the lead. You know, I wish Devin Mesoraco was still with us, but I have no complaints about Barnhart’s performance this season.

–I’m putting Anthony DeSclafani’s performance in the “Good” section. Six innings pitched, three runs allowed on six hits. Eight strikeouts, no walks. As you’ll see in the section below, it could easily have been two runs allowed by Disco.

–Raisel Iglesias pitches two scoreless innings. That’s five straight appearances in which Iglesias hasn’t allowed a run, and he pitched at least two innings in each of those games.

Did you know that, on the latest podcast, Joel Luckhaupt and I talked about how using Iglesias in a non-traditional manner could really benefit the Reds?

(P.S.: Go subscribe to the podcast! You can subscribe via iTunes or whatever podcast device you use. Thanks!)

The Bad
–A couple of mental blunders in the fifth gave the Brewers a run (and a 2-1 lead). DeSclafani gave up a one-out single. Brewers pitcher Matt Garza then laid down a bunt that Disco fielded quickly and inexplicably tossed over to first. There’s no question that he could have gotten the lead runner, and may even have been able to start a double play.

Then, with a runner in scoring position, a slow roller came down the first base line at Joey Votto. Instead of fielding the ball in front of the bag — and it seemed to me like it wouldn’t have taken much effort to do that — Votto let it hit the bag, whereupon the ball caromed away and a run scored.

I love Votto, but that appeared to me to be a mental error.

–Awkward swing by Brandon Phillips in the sixth looked like it hurt his hamstring (turned out to be a “strained right calf”), and he was forced to leave the game. At his age, injuries tend to be more common. I wonder if the Reds have anyone else on the roster that can play second base?

–Eugenio Suarez made his 15th error of the season. That’s not good, is it?

–With the Reds leading 5-3 in the ninth inning, Tony Cingrani entered the game.

I guess you know what happened next: single, walk, single, single, sac bunt (thank you, Brewers), walk, pop out. Then Ross Ohlendorf entered and finished things off.

Cingrani’s been pretty good for a while, but tonight was a rough one.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–You can’t win every game of the second half unless you win the first one.

–DeSclafani has a beard and Cingrani doesn’t. I don’t know what to believe anymore.

–The more I look at DeSclafani’s numbers and watch him pitch, the more I think he can be a #1 starter. Not likely, perhaps, but I really do think it’s possible. He certainly has the stuff to be a good #2 starter, anyway.

To me, the only question is injuries. If Tony Disco can stay healthy, there’s no question in my mind that he has demonstrated the ability to be a good number two pitcher at this point. The stuff is there.

So yeah, I like this kid.

–Duvall was inches from another home run. As it turned out, it was a run-scoring double.

–Have I mentioned that Billy Hamilton is my favorite player? I really like a lot of the players on the Reds (not all, but a lot of them), but one of the biggest surprises of this season is the fact that Hamilton and Iglesias may have turned out to be my two favorite players. I love those guys.

–Longtime RN editor Chris Garber had a good point tonight:

It’s true. Either let Cingrani try to work through it, or bring in Lorenzen. Ohlendorf is not going to be a member of the next good Reds team.

Either way, good win. I’ll take it.

40 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Undefeated!

  1. I know pitchers Wins are fickle but you have to be pretty good to be 4-0 with a sub 3 era while pitching in a bandbox for one of the worst teams in mlb! Hamilton is an awesome force but why don’t they just stick him in the 9 hole and be done with it for a while? The slumps don’t sting so bad when you’re getting the least atbats of any regular!

  2. Agree with you 100% about DeSclafani being a #1 or #2 starter. Have been saying that for a while, that he has the stuff to be much better than the middle- to back-end of the rotation pitcher that everyone else seems to think he will be.

  3. Funny my new favorite is also Iglesias. Hamilton, Votto, and Cueto are my old favorites.

  4. What a contrast tonight watching an accomplished professional pitcher work the 7th and 8th for the Reds versus whatever that was going on in the 9th.

    • I’m sure he’ll be out there if they need a wheelbarrow to get him on the field. He’s gotta be getting worried about getting Pipp-ed.

      • Yep. Dusty was his mentor, and Dusty was always saying: “Beware of getting Pipp-ed.”

    • I think it’ll definitely be Peraza, if BP can’t go. But if BP can walk, he’ll tell Price that he can play. And Price will insert him in the lineup, guaranteed.

  5. Votto and “mental errors”, here’s my pet peeve. Notice how often he ends up with the wrong foot (his glove side foot) on the bag as he sets up to take throws on grounders. Anymore, it seems to me that often he really only has his head into the game when he is batting.

    • Yeh Votto’s been making “mental errors” at first base on a regular basis all season. I like Votto a lot, I’m not a Votto basher. I’m glad he’s still with the Reds, even for all that money, he’s such a critical piece of the offense.

      But his defensive lapses indicate his mind is not completely in the game. This happens to veterans of playoff teams when they’re playing for a last place team.
      But I wouldn’t expect it of Votto, a perfectionist whose idea of leadership is total professionalism on the field of play.

      Has anyone had a talk with him about it ? Apparently not, from what we see.

      • Same here as far as liking Votto. I even had hopes that when Rolen left JV would replace him as the clubhouse beat cop. He seemed to have the right attitude and at least a bit of edge to himself. However unfortunately it has turned out that JV doesn’t even keep himself policed on the defensive side of things.

    • His defense has been pretty bad but as far as which foot should be on the bag it really depends on the angle from which the throw is coming. Usually his right foot should be on the bag but it’s not a given. He’s really been bugging me defensively though. The only thing he’s doing really well is picking bad throws.

      • I normally defer to your judgement in these matters because you played longer and at a higher level than I ever reached.

        However, I have to disagree here. Regardless of whether a 1B is left gloved or right gloved, the opposite (throwing side) foot needs to be the bag foot. There is no situation where a player can reach further up, or to either side and maintain contact with the bag with his glove foot on the bag than with his throwing foot on the bag.

        • I must have had very poor fundamentals at 1B when I played there. Nobody tried to correct them. Of course, I’m pretty sure that the vast majority of the time my right foot was on the bag. Honestly though, I don’t remember that well. I didn’t play much 1B and the last time was probably in 1991 when I had tendonitis and couldn’t catch.

          • Similar here, I ended up at 1B because I was a better throw picker than either of the other 2 guys who would put on the gear and got behind the plate.

            What got me watching Votto on this was the situation a couple of weeks ago where he ended up trying (unsuccessfully) to barehand a toss from the pitcher who had charged over and fielded a ball along the 1B line.

            The reason he had to try to barehand it was because he had set up with his wrong (left) foot on the base and couldn’t switch with the runner bearing in on him

  6. “Billy Hamilton does things that no one else on earth can do.” Absolutely and they are not reflected in OPS. I object to measuring (approximating, whatever) Hamilton’s offensive contributions by OPS.

  7. “Adam Duvall got his 62nd RBI of the season on a fielder’s choice that probably should have been a double play.” It was an RBI because of Hamilton’s speed, obviously, but also it was not an inning ending play because Duvall’s speed surprised Gennett.

    Gennett said afterward that Duvall surprised him with his speed, if he’d known he wouldn’t even have tried for the DP.

      • His fellow NL players like him too. They were the ones who voted him onto the All Star game.

        • He and Iglesias are my two current favorite Reds. Eric Davis and a guy named Vada are my two all time favorite Reds.

  8. “Using Iglesias in a non-traditional manner could really benefit the Reds”. It already has and I’m really pleased with his (and Lorenzon’s) being used two innings at a time.
    I hope Price keeps doing that.

    I don’t agree at all with how the game was closed out, not just the Ohlendorf part but also the Cingrani part, because I don’t see him as among the top candidates for closer of the future. He only has 1 pitch. Every pitch from Cingrani was a fastball except for one that was a ball. It’s hard to believe, but I’ve been keeping track and don’t believe he’s thrown an off-speed pitch for a strike since blowing a save on May 18 on a slider to Rajai Davis that resulted in a 2 run HR. I like Cingrani, but even Chapman could not get by on a fastball alone.

    For that matter, I don’t like the whole current concept of the 1 inning closer and think Price should be creative instead, now that he has some talent to work with.
    Keep using Iglesias and Lorenzon for 2 innings at a time, but include the 8th and 9th innings (2 inning save) sometimes, based on when a high leverage situation holds.

    In 1999 Jack McKeon used Scott Williamson as a “long closer” and Danny Graves as a 1 inning closer highly effectively, helping the Reds to 96 wins.

    I’m not really recommending anything specific here. Price is supposedly intelligent. I’d just like to him throw out convention and get the most out of what is now a legit major league bullpen (not a deep one, I know) to show he can make decisions that help the Reds win close games, while at the same time looking to the future.
    What does he have to lose ?

    • Agreed, especially about this 1-inning closer stuff. I’d love the Reds to have two or three guys in the pen that they could use to start the 8th and say, here ya go, close it out. … Lame duck Price wouldn’t dare try anything so unconventional, although we’re all in a waiting pattern to see whether Dick Williams embraces different thinking or wants everything just like it is. And I can hear the complaints that to try it would mean not having these guys available necessarily on back to back days, but that’s why you don’t have just one!

      • Problem is selling it to players. Players, particularly back end relievers, are still getting paid for saves. Until that changes, it’s going to be hard to get out of these innings based roles.

  9. I read an excellent article about Jay Bruce and his defensive metrics, and I don’t know if it’s been posted here: http://www.fangraphs.com/blogs/the-jay-bruce-defensive-metrics-test/

    A few of the points it makes:
    Jay Bruce was a plus defender before his knee injury and a minus defender since (yeh we already knew that).
    Bruce’s defensive shortcomings, especially this year, have almost entirely been due to balls hit over his head. His arm and his lateral range have not declined much.
    This year’s especially bad numbers are probably not indicative. Scouts do not believe they are, and rate his defense from average to plus.

    The bottom line is that no one is buying that Bruce’s overall value is that of a replacement player.

  10. The Reds better start grooming someone to play first base. Some days Votto looks like old man winter.

  11. I was thinking one of the runs against Disco was unearned for some reason – guess not.

    And watching Votto flub that play was painful. Didn’t come in front of the bag and then played it off to the side. He’s better than that – it does seem to be a “mental vacation” there.

    Loved Iggy, Disco and Billy tonight. And I’ve got the same man-crush on Duvall right now as many of you. He’s just fun to watch and plays like an old-timer.

    • I think Votto had an error taken away or the announcers mistakenly assumed it was called an error.

      • The official scorer initially called it E3 (and the announcers relayed that), but the scorer changed his mind almost immediately.

        It probably wasn’t an error according to how games are scored these days, but it was certainly a mental error.

        • Votto should have charged the ball, next he should have been in front of the ball. Both of which would have resulted in an out. But instead he sauntered his way to the ball, then darts out of the way of it giving it his customary stab at the ball as it goes by resulting in a run. He is a joke defensively. Suarez is not much better but at least his errors are not from a lack of effort.

        • Yeah, was somewhat surprised it was changed from an error to hit. Although I guess Disco ultimately caused the runner that scored to remain safe since he threw to first.

    • I still can’t understand how I”m the only person that thinks Votto couldn’t have made that play in front of the bag.

      At this point I just have to conclude I”m wrong. But I thought Votto charging and picking a short hopping roller is outside his ability level.

  12. Get the lead and put Iggy,Lorenzen and soon to be Finnegan in the game to close things out.Cingrani can not just throw 94 mph fastballs pitch after pitch and expect to get it done.I watched the ninth and he throw 20+ pitches and all were fastballs except one.He was very very lucky to escape the ninth.He has to mix up his pitches because if we know what’s coming then so does the other team.

  13. Duvall projects a certain moxey at the plate that the Reds offense has lacked for quite a while. I see him in the lineup for years to come.

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