Titanic Struggle Recap

The Late Late Show w/ Jay Bruce

The day leading up to this late night game was rife with Jay Bruce trade rumors.  As of the publishing of this recap, Bruce is still patrolling RF for your Cincinnati Reds.

As for the game, the Reds scored 4 in the first.  They would never relinquish that lead, winning 6 to 0.

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BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WIN PERCENTAGE

THE GOOD
-The Reds scored  4 runs in the first inning.  Before San Diego came to bat, their odds of winning had fallen to 16.3%.

-Eugenio Suarez went 2-4 with a double, single, walk (!) and 4 RBI. He also caught a vicious liner in the 1st to bail Brandon Finnegan out of a bases loaded jam.  He almost had another RBI double in the 9th if not for a good play in CF by Travis Jankowski.

-Zack Cozart went 2-5 with a triple.

-Adam Duvall went 2-5 with a triple.

-Brandon Phillips extended his hitting streak to 16 games with a first inning RBI single.  He later had a hustle double where he picked Matt Kemp’s pocket, followed by a 9th inning ground rule double.  He’s hit well lately. More on this later.

-Joey Votto extended his hitting streak to 13 games.  During that time, he’s been on base at least twice in every game.  Since the All-Star Break, Votto is hitting .467/.610/.795.  Where I come from, we call that “obscene.”

-Billy Hamilton singled, walked, and stole a base.  That’s exactly what I want from my leadoff hitters. (Disclaimer: I still don’t want Billy leading off until he maintains a .310+ OBP for a full season. But who else ya got?!)

-Michael (I originally typed “Jared”) Lorenzen struck out the side in the 7th and added another K in the 8th.  He has a 2.95 ERA / 3.08 xFIP.

THE BAD
-Nothing was really bad for the Redlegs, so I’ll say that the home plate umpire called an inconsistent zone.  Nothing bothers me more when watching a game closely.

THE GOOD, BUT ALSO SORT OF MEDIOCRE FEELING
-Brandon Finnegan pitched an effective game from a run prevention standpoint, but didn’t really seem sharp to me the whole game.  He went deep in many counts and walked 3 batters in 6 innings.  He also was fortunate that the infield turned 3 double plays behind him.

He ended the game with a line that looks really good, 6 IP, 5 K, 3 BB, 0 R, but didn’t feel good.  I don’t know, maybe I’m just being silly.  Yeah, I think I’m being silly.

THE GOOD OR BAD DEPENDING ON YOUR POINT-OF-VIEW
-Jay Bruce is still a Red.  In the game, he had a 1st inning sac fly.

SOMEWHAT RANDOM-ISH THOUGHTS
-I have no idea how professional athletes can still play and produce when they know their team is aggressively (Can Walt be aggressive?) shopping them.

-I’ve realized I have a soft spot for prospects that get traded a lot early in their career.  I like both Wil Myers and Jose Peraza.  The aforementioned fact is the only thing they seem to have in common.

-San Diego’s TV announcers mispronounced “DeSclafani” three times.  It’s phonetic, so I don’t understand what is so difficult about it.

-Brandon Phillips hasn’t homered since May 7th. Since that point, he’s hitting .249/.292/.296 with a 54 wRC+ in 275 PA (not counting tonight).  Really, Peraza isn’t a downgrade at this point.  I’m confident Peraza could match that line with regular playing time, while also being an elite base runner.

-Since his 3-hit game on June 6th, Tyler Holt is hitting .100/.151/.100.  Maybe he should be in AAA and, oh I don’t know, Scott Schebler should be in the bigs.

-Robert Stephenson got shelled tonight by the Durham Bulls.  As time goes on, I continue to lose confidence that he can be a decent big league starter.

-Dick Enberg destroyed whoever the other guy is in the booth in the 9th inning.  The other guy confused BABIP with AVG and said hitters hit .300 with no shift and .311 with a shift this year so far.  Enberg said “that can’t be the case” and then made his point.  How about that.  Was interesting to listen to Dick jump all over the guy.

-Brandon Finnegan, who has given up a metric boat-load of homers this year, ended San Diego’s streak of 25-straight games with a home run, with assists from Lorenzen and Blake Wood.

-Tony Cingrani started warming up in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs and a 6-0 lead because saves.  Sigh…

ADVENTURES IN MANAGEMENT
-I’m not sure if it is Bryan Price or the front office, but the Peraza situation is getting ridiculous.  I have a thought that BP’s hitting streak is what is keeping Peraza from getting a start.  If that’s the case, it might be the first time I rooted for a Red to go 0-4 in a game.  Peraza has lost 2 months of development time because of the inept way he has been handled by Reds management.  That’s 2 months further away Peraza is from reaching his peak, whatever that is.  If he needs 1.5 seasons of experience to be “decent,” that’ll fall in 2019 instead of 2018 because of his wasted time.

-Jesse Winker batted SEVENTH again tonight in Louisville.  Delino DeShields is a series of words that I can’t type here.  The fact that the Reds FO hasn’t talked to DeShields about taking ABs away from the club’s best (closest?) hitting prospect is baffling.  It’s little things like this, compounded by terrible lineups, bullpen roles, etc that add up to create a bad franchise.  No single thing is egregious, but they are all EASILY FIXED ERRORS THAT SHOULD NEVER HAPPEN.  I don’t know why this makes me so mad, but it does.  DeShields should be fired.  He’s a detriment to the Reds future success.

TWEET OF THE GAME

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I never listen to the radio, but I was glad Dick Enberg was my only option tonight.

TOMORROW’S GAME
Mercifully, the game tomorrow (tonight?) starts at 8:40 Eastern, rather than 10:40 Eastern.  We get to watch Anthony DEE-SKULL-FEE-KNEE pitch.  I’m not sure where he came from, but Chad Dotson and I agree that he sounds made up.

56 thoughts on “The Late Late Show w/ Jay Bruce

  1. Price said on the pregame show that there wasn’t room for Peraza in the lineup when the other players are all producing. Yeah, gotta get to 65 wins at all costs, I guess.

    • When Marty pressed him on Peraza he pretty much acknowledged that Peraza might be better off getting playing time at AAA. If they aren’t going to play him up here, please send the guy down so he can continue to develop!!!

      • He’s alluded to that a few times now, yet Peraza still rots on the bench.

        • I know. It’s crazy and I fail to grasp what anyone (manager or front office) is thinking. Then again maybe I give them too much credit if I believe they are thinking.

      • Obviously it’s a ploy to keep him hidden so the league doesn’t figure him out. We’ve all seen what’s happening to Duvall and Suarez, do we really want to relive that again with Peraza? Right now he’s our secret weapon off the bench, right behind Tyler Holt. Can’t just waste a weapon like that because the fans are getting antsy.

  2. I’m starting to believe that BP is holding Jocketty’s grandchildren hostage and the ransom is he must start 150 games. Every morning, Walt gets a video from a crying 6 year old Skip Jocketty….. begging for BP to play so Skip and his brother Grit can eventually go home.

    That is the only logical explanation at this point.

    • I know you are being sarcastic but it is true. Brandon is technically better at hitting a thrown baseball than Joey Votto because he makes more contact, therefore hitting the ball more often. Is he a better player? No of course not. BP is running on borrowed time. Hate to see him go but his days are numbered.

      • Not true at all because the comparison isn’t valid.

        Votto swings harder since he’s trying to do damage. To do a real comparison, you’d have to tell both players “don’t worry about anything other than making contact” and then see where they were after a while with contact%.

        There is a strong correlation between high contact and low overall production, just FYI.

        • Exactly. If Joey wanted to put the bat on the ball at all costs, I’d be willing to bet he’d “hit” about .900 at that task, regardless of the outcome of the ball in play.

      • So are you saying that if I go up to the plate and bunt every time, I’ll be considered a better hitter than BP or Joey because I made contact? I guess I WILL quit my day job cuz teams should be lining up for my services!

        In all seriousness, I think you can see the folly in your line of thinking. Good hitters are the ones that make “good” contact. If you like batting average as an indicator, then by definition you would have to agree that Joey is better than BP. If you like slugging or ISO metrics that would indicate a hitter’s power, Joey still wins that comparison.

      • Brandon is trying to make contact more often than JV is, because he is willing to swing at pitches he probably can’t hit well. No surprise that his bat finds the ball more often, given the increased opportunity, but the point is what happens after the contact. You’ve noticed Joey fouling off endless numbers of pitches waiting for the pitcher to throw something hittable? He could make contact at a dizzying rate if he didn’t care about the results.

    • Well, to play Devil’s Advocate here, Brandon IS hitting .325 since the All-Star Break. He’s hitting with no power and not taking walks, but at least he’s doing something useful at the plate.

        • I didn’t check, but I’d be willing to bet he has an unusually high BABIP during that same stretch as well.

          And no matter what he’s doing, it doesn’t justify not giving Peraza a look.

          • Yeah, .389 BABIP for BP since the break. But really, a hitting streak is just a prolonged period of sustained decent luck.

            Votto’s BABIP is .515, for reference… ahah!

        • Regardless. Peraza plays more than one position. Hes not even the first option off the bench late. Price can find playing time for him. He just does not want to.

  3. I know this is a stretch, but…here is an outlandish theory to justify DeShields batting Winker seventh. Feel free to knock it down:

    Jesse Winker is definitely coming to the Reds. He would be with the MLB club now if Jay Bruce were not in right field. Saving service time also argues for delaying his promotion.

    Schebler, Selsky, and others are less-known quantities. Conversely to Winker’s case, additional at-bats can be informative to their potential value. In addition, with relatively little to prove about Winker’s abilities, every additional at-bat/ baserunning opportunity brings with it the risk of injury.

    Also, I think I saw Elvis yesterday 😄

    • Yeah, I saw Bigfoot the other day. Only problem was I think it was Uncle Walt dressed up in a suit.

    • You know what the more plausible explanation is though….with this organization’s thinking, they are preparing Winker for his eventual role of hitting 7th in the big league lineup. Gotta get him some reps there, right?

      • Fill me in, what is the 7th hitter supposed to do according to the Old School Bible? I know leadoff is the fast guy, 2nd is the hit and run/bunt guy, 3rd is your best hitter, 4th is your best power hitter, 5th is your next best power hitter, then after that it gets kind of murky.

        I know you were being saracastic, but I’m asking because I genuinely wonder if you might be onto their line of thinking. In which case, that’s terrifying.

  4. Really appreciate the thorough recap for everyone, given the west coast game–was watching from the southern hemisphere (late Saturday afternoon baseball!) and was worried that that Enberg’s common-sense take-down wouldn’t get noted. It was a thing of logical beauty. Enberg isn’t the best or sharpest at this point (though he’s certainly more pleasant to listen to than other experienced broadcasters who shall not be named), but it was pleasant to have facts asserted and recognized. Really fun game to watch–Finnegan got lucky, but didn’t pitch poorly, and the good guys had a lot of hard hit balls and good situational hitting.

  5. Seattle isn’t really in the AL race so trading for Bruce seems a little strange but I read somewhere that they’re pretty old in several places so they could be gearing up for a big run next year. Their prospect Tyler O’Neill is pretty interesting. He just turned 21 and has big power. He’s hitting .302 with 19 HRs (.372 obp) in AA after hitting .260 last year. That’s encouraging. He’s also Canadian for what that’s worth and 5’11” which is slightly unusual for a power hitter.

    Don’t know what to say about Peraza? Surely if they trade Jay then Duvall could move to RF and he could play some LF. I would platoon Schebler/Peraza in LF/leadoff. If you gave Peraza some time in LF and sub in for Cozart/BP but they won’t do it. BP/Cozart have to play EVERY.SINGLE.DAY.NO.MATTER.WHAT!! How is this part of a rebuild?? As Reds fans….we need to hope that its just Price being stupid because that can be fixed. The alternative is that the front office is telling him to play BP every day and thats insane!! The other option is SS of course. They really need to trade Cozart even if the return isn’t great. I mean he’ll be 31 next month and may be middle-aged before the Reds are relevant again.

  6. I have no clue either why Peraza is not in the game. Maybe they are going to put him in RF if Bruce get traded.

  7. Listened to Marty and Cowboy through 6 last night. They went from scolding Finnegan to praising him, which fits the fact it looked good, felt wrong. The double plays were huge. But, give him props for keeping it in the park if nothing else.

    Why wasn’t I on the game thread last night? Dang it. Was just puttering while I listened.

    • Now that’s a backdoor compliment. Finnegan, I can’t say you pitched particularly well, but you were able to keep the ball inside of Petco Park, so kudos.

      (nothing personal just found the comment amusing).

  8. Fun fact… Marty and his wife Amanda have the same birthday. It was Thursday.

  9. Just for once I’d like to see a front office bench someone like BP for the rest of the year. The guy has turned down what, 3 trades? Fine, if you want to stay here you’ll sit on the bench. His performance doesn’t merit playing time.

    • In all fairness to BP, he’s swinging a pretty good bat since the AS break. A lot of BABIP luck but some decent contact and hitting too. Also, BP isn’t the only person who is blocking trades. That even Jonathan Lucroy must be trying to sabotage the Brewers too because he blocked a trade to the Indians by exercising his no-trade clause. BP is only doing what the CBA says he has a right to.

  10. The BP/Peraza thing is a joke especially when you say or hint that Brandon is producing.He is not part of the future so what he does or doesn’t do isn’t important.Peraza needs to play period.Do you get the feeling the rebuild is a joke?Just shows that it is or there is a big disconnect from the front office to Price in who plays.

  11. The little confidence I had in the FO before the season fades everyday that Pedraza sits on the bench and Tyler Holt takes up a spot on the 25 man roster. Peraza may to be able to make it in the bigs, but why not find out now? Bruce is probably hoping someone gets him out of this circus asap.

  12. The biggest head scratcher is this FO tried so hard to bring Peraza here. Now they finally got him, they don’t want to play him?

    Then what was the friggin’ point?

    • I really think it went down something similar to this:

      The Reds were ready to trade Chapman for Peraza + prospects.
      The media/baseball found out about Chapman situation and that tanked their proposed trade.
      But the Reds had became enamored with Peraza and continued to engage the Dodgers in talks. The Dodgers didn’t need/want Bruce at the time (especially coming off two subpar seasons) and didn’t need Frazier with Seager ready. The Reds didn’t have anymore realistic trade chips the Dodgers wanted.
      The White Sox entered. With the Reds focused on adding offensive players they didn’t want Montas and the Sox wouldn’t give up Anderson. They turned their attention back to Peraza, a SS/2B they knew was available. A deal was worked out.
      The Reds knew there was some level of interest in Phillips and that it was unrealistic to trade Cozart in the off season coming off major knee surgery.
      The Reds (Jocketty and Price) sold Peraza as the 2B of the future.
      They overestimated either how much Brandon wanted to stay a Red or how much additional money he would ask for to move.
      When Brandon turned down two trades it left the Reds with nowhere to play Peraza.
      Thinking Cozart would either struggle or play well enough to warrant trade interest they started Peraza at SS in AAA even though they initially stated he was a 2B.
      Cozart exceeded expectations but a trade market has not really developed. If the Reds cannot find a taker for Cozart at the deadline Peraza may not have a place to play for the foreseeable future (or at least 2018 if no off season trade happens).

      None of that explains why Peraza is wasting away on the Reds bench. Other than the Reds bench is pretty horrible, but even then Holt and DeJesus appear to get more PH opportunities.

      I really think they caught with their pants down during the Chapman situation, panicked, overreacted, and put the cart before the horse. The biggest misstep in the Peraza situation has been their over confidence in being able to move Phillips. I don’t know why, there has been little indication in Phillips’ dealings with the FO that indicated moving him would be simple.

      • None of that explains why Peraza is wasting away on the Reds bench. Other than the Reds bench is pretty horrible, but even then Holt and DeJesus appear to get more PH opportunities.

        This is the real kicker. If he’s not going to play, why not send him down so he can at least hone his skills by playing every day while some other stiff sits on the bench?

        Completely and utterly baffling how they are handling him.

      • Agree with this. That specific Frazier package (Peraza/Schebler) never happens if the Chapman trade talks hadn’t plowed the ground.

        • And what we’re really saying with regard to all of this is that the Red’s FO ignored or completely failed to value their trade pieces. Color me encouraged about the leadership of this rebuild.

      • It would be very simple to move Phillips in August if not for the 10/5. He will pass through waivers unclaimed and the Reds could trade him to a contender and pay half his salary for next year and get a AA reliever in exchange. The problem is BP wouldn’t agree to a scenario where he would be a bench player….this year or next year.

        The point being there is NO market for BP as a starting second baseman. That is the ultimate statement on his baseball skills and value in 2016 and 2017. His refusal of a trade has nothing to do with loving Cincinnati. This is the only place he can still be front and center on any team, He has leverage here…..and only here…..The Reds front office and manager wont bench him because they simply don’t want a firestorm of controversy. Yet ,they created this situation. What buffoonery.

  13. Marty and Cowboy also got on a rant that actually would have been well received here for the most part.

    It started out with the comment that the Reds were again playing with a short bench bench with Waldrop having been sent down to make a 25 man spot for Bailey. After questioning why a position player was sent down versus a pitcher, especially with the looming possibility of Bruce being traded, Marty moved on the question of if a position player then why Waldrop instead of Peraza since it was doing Peraza’s development no good to sit every day.

    At this point Cowboy jumped in, agreed and then rattled off a 5 position “rotation” of 2B, SS, CF, LF and 3B in which Peraza could be used which would get him 5 starts a week while getting a day off every week for 5 guys who essentially have been playing every day for 4 months.

    • And Cowboy could have added two more positions, RF and 1B, because Duvall could cover both of those with Peraza holding down the fort in LF on the days when Duvall was playing 1B or RF.

      It is reaching the point where one has to almost wonder if there is some organizational dynamic to why Peraza sits on the MLB bench versus playing there or back in AAA. Feuding between Price and WJ or DW (probably not both or they would order Price to play Peraza)? Feuding between WJ/ DW? It certainly seems like Peraza and possibly even Price could be stuck in the middle of something which goes well beyond them

      • Yes, exactly. I’d love to see Schebler up at Cincinnati, but I fear he’d just join Peraza on the bench and see no action. No way should they stunt Schebler’s hot streak, just keep getting him AB’s at Louisville.
        The inactivity of Peraza is getting beyond perplexing. Don’t add Schebler into this crazy mix.

  14. Peraza should have 300 MLB at bats by now, there is no doubt. I am going to delude myself into assuming that the FO has Cozart and BP in the front window of the trade shop with ‘For Sale’ tags on them, and that’s why Peraza’s development is on pause.

    Come Monday, BP will be traded or DFA’d, Cozart will be traded (or not), and Peraza will spend the remainder of the season in the starting lineup at innumerable positions, if need be.

    Right?

    • ^ This. I think the FO wants to showcase their tradeable pieces. With BP doing a decent job and Cozart having a good year, they want them out there producing (Cozart with his numbers and BP with his health).

      I agree Peraza’s handling is inexcusable as he can be a super sub even with those two playing the infield.

    • We can only hope. If Bruce, Cozart, and Phillips are gone by Monday, some of my faith in the front office will be restored. If 2 of 3 are gone, I’ll still feel pretty good. If 1 is gone, I’ll consider it the bare minimum they could do.

      But I’m getting a sinking feeling all 3 will still be Reds by season’s end and we’ll get the normal spiel how “None of the packages were good enough.”, then they’ll trade all 3 this offseason for peanuts.

  15. Finnegan was giving up some extremely hard-hit balls, but mostly atom balls. Hey, I’ll take the end result, but ya hate to see that much hard contact. Double plays really were Finnegan’s best friend last night.

    • Cowboy was giving Finnegan the what for much of the night. He kept coming back to the fact that Finnegan “overthrows” and thus loses control. Then once the hitters know he has to throw a strike they sit on the fastball somewhere in the middle of the hitting zone.

  16. Is the re-build over? If nothing happens this trade deadline, that drags it out 5 more months into December and the winter meetings, or a whole year until next trade deadline.
    Front office mismanagement rises to the top again. You know, maybe GM Dick Williams is getting the same kind of treatment in the front office as Peraza is getting on the field. Sit on the bench and shut up.

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