Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: Phillips homers, subversive t-shirt not enough

The key play of the game occurred in the top of the eighth inning. The Reds had two runners on – Tucker Barnhart had drawn the Reds first walk of the evening and Ivan De Jesus had singled. With runners at first and second, Billy Hamilton hit a hard ground ball down the third base line. The Pirates third baseman was playing in close on Hamilton and dove to his right to make the play. If that ball gets by him, Hamilton would have been standing at second base representing the go-ahead run, with no outs. I would have liked Hamilton’s odds of scoring.

Instead, Hamilton’s ball was turned into a double play ending the Reds threat.

Cincinnati 3  Pittsburgh 5 |  FanGraphs  | PNC Park 9/28/12

Homer Bailey’s second start didn’t go as well as his first. His fastball velocity was down and control of his breaking pitches wasn’t sharp. The two runs the Pirates scored in the third inning were without benefit of the ball leaving the infield. Bailey worked 3+ innings, striking out four and walking one and had two HBP. He threw 78 pitches.

Josh Smith entered the game in the fourth with runners at first and second. A wild pitch advanced both a base where they scored on a soft ground ball into centerfield. Smith walked one and struck out two in two innings of work.

We had a Keyvius Sampson sighting tonight. He made his first appearance in two weeks, just the third time he’s been used in the past month. He pitched two clean innings. In his last 10 innings pitched, Sampson has given up one run, seven hits, four walks and has 14 strikeouts. I’d rather see Sampson (25) in high leverage situations than Ross Ohlendorf (34 tomorrow). Ohlendorf has pitched 10 times over that period.

The Reds took the lead in the top of the second on Brandon Phillips’ first home run since May 7, a double by Eugenio Suarez and a single by Tucker Barnhart. 2-1 Reds. Phillips added another solo homer in the seventh.

The first home run by Brandon Phillips was hit #1800 in his career. It was career home run #190 playing 2B.

Billy Hamilton went 0-for-4 and is now hitting .248/.298/.340. His wRC+ is 69. Hamilton has the second-lowest average exit velocity in MLB for hitters with 100 samples. His hitting production is worse than his awful 2014 season. He’s still contributing with defense and base running. But the “Billy is figuring it out” choir needs to take another look at its hymnal.

The double by Suarez was really a single plus heads-up running and hustle to take an extra base off Pirates CF Andrew McCutchen. McCutchen has a great rep among broadcasters for his defense but advanced metrics say otherwise, emphatically. In his eight seasons, only twice has he produced positive Defensive Runs Saved or UZR. This year his DRS is -10. Yes, McCutchen won a Gold Glove in 2012, but none since Rawlings began incorporating sabermetrics in naming award winners.

Eugenio Suarez committed his 18th error of the season in the third inning. After fielding Josh Harrison’s bunt, Suarez threw to first with no chance to get Harrison. He pulled his throw down the right field line.

We encourage this subversive behavior:

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59 thoughts on “Recap: Phillips homers, subversive t-shirt not enough

  1. This year for Bailey is really just to get a feel back, this is typical early after TJ. I still doubt he is more than a third starter but that is not bad. This team will not sniff the playoffs with BHam batting at the top of the order. The problem is I don’t see anyone on this roster than can leadoff. Heck, Winker may be the only decent 2 hole hitter I can see even close.

  2. What about the T-shirt at the grandma sitting behind is wearing? It looks like a cross between a promotion for raisins and the Grateful Dead.

  3. BP seems to have bounced back nicely from early injuries to his leg and wrist. He seemed to be less aggressive at the plate opting for contact over power. (Most likely due to the injuries), thus mostly singles and the occasional double. July produced a 16 game hitting streak, followed by 3 pretty strong games in a row.

  4. I would call .250/.300 for Billy an improvement (.226/.274 in 2015), and hopefully will become his floor. He’s still better when he bats 7th or 9th.

    • Improvement over his 2015 season (wRC+ 52, worst in baseball) is the lowest of low bars. Also consider that offense is up this year across the board.

    • Until he maintains some success near his ASB number, Billy should bat 9th. I personally like BP leading considering his skill set, then definitely Votto 2nd, Cozart 3rd. I think BP batting in front of Votto and the knowledge that his #1 job is to get on base should net around .320 or .330 obp like last season

    • When Peraza/Herrera take over and Duvall is at third base until Senzel arrives, Suarez, who has a strong arm, could platoon with Schebler in right field until further developments occur.

  5. I thought the bottom of the 3rd was about as dysfunctional as I’ve seen the Reds all year (and that’s saying a lot isn’t it).

    Suarez heaved a throw toward 1st which ended up in RF when he should have held the ball. It was so obvious that the blame has to be all on him but still frowns all around from me. On plays like that typically other infielders are making sure the guy doesn’t try to make a throw by doing things like waving their arms at the fielder, stepping into his line of of sight as they do etc. If you are here and reading this, you’ve seen it numerous times. However tonight, Barnhart stood behind the plate watching with his hands on his hips. Bailey was on his haunches I suppose bemoaning that Harrison had laid down a perfect bunt on him; and, there stood Votto resolutely on the bag awaiting the throw rather than stepping off out into the cut and waving for the ball to be held instead of thrown.

    But the inning was just getting started. After 2 were retired without the runner advancing from 2nd, a walk and consecutive HBP batters made the Suarez error academic. Cervelli, the Pirate catcher then dibbled a grounder up the middle with the bases loaded. For whatever reason(s) instead of covering 2nd, Phillips stayed deep and crossed to the shortstop side of 2B in pursuit of the ball. Cozart managed to get to the ball but there was nobody covering 2nd, where it looked like they had a play, and, the 2nd Pirate run of the inning scored.

    So that’s two runs scored on couple if IF hits, a walk and 2 hbp batters. No runners in the entire inning advanced a single base on a batted ball which left the infield.

    What next?

    • On the Suarez error, he threw that ball immediately upon picking it up. There wasn’t much his teammates could have done aside from yelling “no chance”. Suarez has to have an internal clock that said he had no chance on that play. That one is on him.

      On the Cervelli grounder, I said the same thing you did. Why didn’t BP go to the bag, especially since the ball was on the SS side of 2B? I get that he was just trying to catch it but they would have gotten the force there if he had gone to the bag.

  6. I know a lot of people have been irritated by what Bailey said after the Bruce trade and this performance magnifies it. I just hope he is sensitive enough to realize a lot fans perceive that his contract has hampered the Reds more severely than anything else. The issues I had….
    1) he implied his teammate better be the next Cano or its a letdown-putting unnecessary pressure on a young prospect
    2) he flat accuses management of trying to lose a historic amount of games, insulting the team while he basically has contributed nothing due to injuries
    3) he specifically states Bruce is a guy to rebuild around completely ignoring the fact the Reds cannot afford the contract Bruce would require when they are actually expected to optimistically be competitive- completely ignoring the fact that he is one of the reasons due to poor contract awarded
    Hopefully Bailey will put up a string of Dan Strailey like starts and emerge as a type of leader to make this team a winner, but he probably should learn to pick his words wisely until then

    • Bailey has been a tough guy to like personally since his earliest days if you talk to any Reds reporters. Now with 100 million guaranteed, probably not getting better.

      • Agree, fair or unfair if he was not making 100 million I would have a totally different perception of him. His legacy is doomed if Reds do not get competitive during his contract or if he does mildly eclipse his so-so 2012 numbers even if he maintains a FIP of sub 3.50

      • Which Reds reporters have you talked to who have said that?

        Bailey was cocky when he came up at age 21, but what I’ve read is that he’s matured. On the other hand, I know all the rest of us were perfect human beings at age 21.

    • With BP coming off the books after next year and most of the core cost controlled, I think they can afford what Bruce would make on the opening market. I just don’t think they believe he’s worth the money.

      For 17,18, 19 Bruce likely makes around 45 million. Winker will make perhaps 5 million( assuming he’s really good and gets a decent salary jump in year 3). Why pay Jay Bruce 9-15x’s more than what Winker would make if the expected production is similar?

      Unless you have a rare talent like a Votto, Larkin or even BP 4 years ago there is no reason to pay 5-20x’s more for similar production.

      • Its very tough to sell high because you start thinking about what you could have done but most likely you would have been paying more for the declining years and not have the chance to have a low cost major league 2b in 2020 & 2021, & maybe in 2022 but I am not sure how the clock works

      • I agree with your point and that the Reds have money to spend, lots of it. The Bruce contract would be even riskier than you say. 2017 is an option year on his current contract, which the Mets will surely pick up. So the next contract for Bruce starts in 2018. I’d be really surprised if some team isn’t willing to go 4-5 years with him, just to get him. And $15 million/year seems low. I’d guess closer to $18m AAV. If Bruce continues to hit well next year, it could go even higher. Maybe $100 million for 5 years, for his age 31-35 years. That’s risky.

        • I’m trying to find where I read that WIlliams or Jocketty (can’t recall which) basically said that the Reds were living beyond their means in those 2013-2015 years. The premise was that the Reds increased payroll thinking that they had a shot at the World Series those years but that those teams weren’t at a payroll level the Reds could live at. It is driving me crazy that I can’t find the article. I’ve read your past payroll analysis and I was on board with the you in that the Reds had plenty of money to afford nice things, right up until reading that article that I can’t find. Now, I think we may have overestimated their income and the silence on the new TV contract is a bit deafening in my opinion. The trades and the Reds unwillingness to take on any of the contract money, particularly the Reds inability to move BP, makes me think that the money simply isn’t there. This worries me for the Reds ability to remain a viable MLB franchise.

          As for Bruce’s contract, I think the $18-million AAV is probably about right. I think 5/$90-million is probably about right and I could see something like 6/$100-million or even 6/$110-million on the top end.

    • Bailey stood up for a person who had been his teammate and friend for nine years. He expressed that he didn’t like to see his team trading away their best players one-after-another because he wants to win.

      Teammates. Friendship. Winning.

      I remember when expressing those qualities would have been seen as positive character traits.

      • “I think I see the plan,” veteran pitcher Homer Bailey told ESPN.com. “They talked about us losing 100 games at the beginning of the year, and s—, we’re damn sure trying, aren’t we?”

        What a great teammate. You can really tell he loves his teammates. Does he realize we were on pace to lose almost 100 WITH Jay Bruce?

        “I think it’s kind of like you see the balloon getting bigger, and then, all of a sudden, you poke a hole in it,” Bailey said. “Apparently, they know a lot more than we do.”

        At the very minimum this is a public trashing of his front office, and I think most people would agree that there was no point in keeping Jay Bruce, so he’s really off base. You can measure $/WAR between Bruce and Dilson and it’s VERY likely Dilson will be a better investment than remaining JB time.

        “I don’t have anything to say about the trade, but Jay was one of my very good friends, and I just wish him luck,” Duvall said. “I am sad to see him go just because he meant a lot to me, even though I was only here one year.”

        But he did have a lot to say.

        “There is a business side, but you know what? It’s always kind of players vs. team. That’s always the way it goes,” he said. “There’s nothing personal about that, but right now, we’re definitely making some moves that are quite questionable, especially for the guys who put on the jersey every day. If you’re in a rebuilding, then who better to build around than Jay Bruce?”

        Kinda sticking up for the players here, but he had just mentioned how they’re going to lose 100 games. Also displaying a poor business sense if he thinks the Reds should rebuild around JB considering their payroll for next 2-4 years.

        I think this was a lot closer to a tantrum than a display of good character, but we can disagree.

        • Sorry, shouldve pointed out that 3rd quote was from Duvall, not HB. Maybe HB can learn from the rookie!

        • I think a lot of this was just his emotions getting the best of him. Plus, players always think that teams have gobs of money and they just want to sit on that money and not pay guys. Would it have probably been better had he kept his mouth shut? Probably, but a lot of fans are thinking the same dang thing that Bailey was and I bet a lot of his teammates are thinking the same thing too.

      • I think the sentiments he expressed were very much positive. They reflect his competitive nature and his friendship for Bruce and probably his desire to see his team’s fortunes to be improved. However, his way of communicating it and choice of words were not positive or constructive.

        That’s probably what struck the people who reacted negatively to what he said. I’m not sure that he meant to diss a potential future teammate but it’s hard to take what he said any other way. Same with his implication that the FO is tanking it.

        He’s still young but definitely not naive about how the business of baseball works. Maybe he doesn’t like it, but he’s been paid handsomely because of it.

        If he wanted to say anything about the trade, what he should have said is that “More than ever, it’s on me to be a leader for this young team. This organization has placed a lot of trust in me and I intend to reward that trust by working hard and coming back to be the pitcher I was before I got hurt and to show my younger teammates how to be professionals.”

        If he really does feel that negatively toward the FO, I would rather he just tell them directly (maybe he has?) and not involve the public in that conversation.

      • I felt he disparaged his current teammates especially his newest one in sticking up for one that was not economically feasible to keep. Implying that they were actually playing better recently should altered their strategy, comments would have made more sense after the Frazier trade not when they are 20 games under .500 or near it.

      • I still see them as positive. Not realistic and perhaps unwise for the reasons others have mentioned, but I expect that his was an emotional reaction, and I can cut him plenty of slack for that.

      • And I agree the spirit of his comments he wants to win and he obviously was hurt by losing Jay as a teammate, my point was making these kind of comments anger fans when he has been making a lot of money while injured.
        A performanc that e is not even replacement level is not going to win him any graces

        • Fair enough to me, Vic. If somebody wants to be outspoken, they better back it up or suffer the backlash. Hopefully, he can get locked in.

        • Yes hopefully Mrred, I am hoping for a few seasons near 2012 level, I am not expecting Cueto-like performance

    • There is a very, very fine line here, but I actually like what Homer said, and I believe it can be a positive force in the locker room, and may be evidence of Homer’s developing leadership style.

      Look, Bruce needed to be traded, but I don’t need our #1 veteran pitcher (and de facto leader now – recall Votto doesn’t really take to this role vocally) to like it. In fact, I think it’s very healthy that Homer didn’t like it, and said something about it.

      The young guys on the team now view Homer (if not already) as a guy who protects his guys. He wants to win. He’d rather finish 70-92 than 60-102. He has clawed his way back over two years. When he originally got injured, we were a “playoff” team. Now he returns to the current status – and he’s salty about it. Hell, that’s exactly who I want rubbing off on Cody Reed, Bob Steve, Peraza, etc.

      Again, very fine line. But so far, based on what I’ve read, if I was a 22 year old in AAA awaiting the call, I’d read it and think, “Man, that guy wants to win. I want to play (insert position) behind him every 5th day.”

      Take it or leave it.

      • In the team’s case though, they’ll have to take it. I think that may be part of the problem here.

      • That’s how I’d look at it if I was a player. And if I was Hererra, I’d look at what he said about me being the next Cano as a challenge.

  7. Nice to see Reds management keep BP in there and see him shine somewhat. Hopefully he gets the opportunity to go out with a bang and not a whimper. It will be hard for the Reds to replace him and for those that cry for the change now at second base becareful what you ask for. It might take 10 to 15 years to find an actual replacement to do an equal job that he has done.

    Nice to see Sampson playing well. I noticed that during his time in the minors that there would be a few gaps between his starts. I wonder if he has an undisclosed minor health issue such as blisters or something similar?

    How was Suarez’s defense today is his coming around on d side?

    • I think they are missing Sampson’s window- outside of Finegan it would be hard to justify that he has not shown the most promise between his ML starts and the season he had put together at AAA this year

      • I think Sampson and the org both would have been better served if he had been left at AAA, like Stephenson, and continued to start every 5th day. Certainly that would have been better than pitching 2-3 innings every 10 days to two weeks.

        The guy just appears to pitch better as a starter. Even if the Reds have decided he isn’t in their plans as a starter. at least let him build value by starting at AAA.

        • By promise I meant having the most success currently, not in potential, Sampson is not going to benefit from more development at this point IMO, Reed, Stephenson and even Lamb might need to work somethings at AAA still

    • Suarez D…See the recap and OhioJims post above. Probably his worse error of the year.

      • It looked like Suarez KNEW he wasn’t gonna get the guy and thought he’d just flip the ball over to Votto since he was in his throwing motion anyway. I wonder if that’s why the ball went so wild, as if he debated at the last minute not to throw but he couldn’t stop.

        • That’s the way it looked to me. He knew he couldn’t get Harrison. He knew he shouldn’t throw it. But he got caught in between and just couldn’t stop.

        • This is why I went bonkers that nobody was running at him trying to wave him off, even physically block him from throwing or that Votto wasn’t wasn’t giving him the don’t throw arms extended sign from 1B. Break his concentration. Take the edge off the adrenalin rush. I’ve even seen guys hug a fielder in such situations to keep him from throwing.

    • On your point about BP, it only makes sense if you think BP would continue producing at this level for the next 10 to 15 years. If the Reds don’t think he can, probably a smart bet since he’d be almost 50 yrs old, they are forced to start planning the replacement process now. So it’s not some whimsical desire to move BP just because the team wishes and hopes they find someone better. They have to find someone better now; he’s no longer the player he was and will only decline further. Might as well play the young prospects. They aren’t in danger of being in a playoff chase this year.

    • It would be hard to replace 2007-2012 Brandon Phillips. Not so much the current version. He’s been one of the least valuable 2B in the major leagues this year, defense included.

      • I keep hearing that bantered about around here. Who out there determines value? Don’t tell me another “walks are the greatest” statistic!!

        • In short, people use math to measure player performance now. There are 8-10 metrics that more or less capture a player’s performance in ways that can be objectively compared to other players.

          And there have been articles on this site about the value of walks. Might be a good read if you’re wondering why people like players who take walks.

        • Oh Ben, I have read them just don’t agree; and I am aware of the measurements “Some” use evaluating a players performance. The issue, with me, is measuring players with statistics that give equal weight to hits and walks. It amazes me, Ben, that these persons bash BA as a measurement for a player and espouse OBP, except OBP has even more limiting shortcomings. BA does gives equal weight to extra base hits as well as singles. OBP does not give extra weight to extra base hits as well, plus does not differentiate between a hit and walk. When in all circumstances a hit is better than a walk.

          • First, no one says that Batting Average is meaningless. It measures hit skills. Second, there are plenty of times when singles aren’t better than walks. Like when no one is on base, every time. Third, the reason people like OBP on top of AVG is that walks are closer to singles in runs created than they are to outs. Given that, I’d rather know how often players walk in addition to getting hits if I only can look at one stat. For example, when a batter is one for four in a game, plus a walk, it’s a much more accurate expression of his run creation to look at OBP of .400 than an AVG of .250. Neither addresses extra base hits. That’s what other stats are for.

            I think what people “bash” from your perspective is that citing a player’s batting average is a good way to say how good of a hitter he is or what kind of season he’s having. The statement that “He’s having a bad year, he’s hitting .250” is dumb. Similarly, saying that Brandon Phillips was having a better season than Joey Votto because of batting average is equally dumb.

            It’s not that Batting Average is meaningless, the complaint is when people give it too much, or absolute, weight.

        • Are there folks really saying that, Scotly? I thought that the articles espoused using a number of measures to deduce value. Whereas old school methods seemed only to focus on BA rbis and HRs. Nothing wrong with wanting to get a deeper picture of a player’s hitting abilities. Right?

        • One more thing, and this relates to the question of Brandon Phillips value … the measures that go into that valuation (wRC+ or wOBA) do weight walks differently from singles, and singles different from doubles etc. That’s what the little “w” means in front of the stat. Weighted. Run creation is based on all the plays that take place each year. So that single stat is WAY better than either AVG or OBP because it takes power into account.

        • Can you show us any statistic that would support Phillips providing measurable value to the Reds this year?

        • I don’t think anyone uses OBP in a vacuum. Neither AVG or OBP in a vacuum tell me much at all about a player. Look, I have some old-school views sometimes and I don’t understand why a few people can’t see getting on base and not making outs as a good thing. Getting a hit is still better but not making one of your 27 outs is valuable. And nobody has said that a walk is worth more than a hit. Of course even in little league, in a lot of circumstances, my coach would say “A walk is as good as a hit!” That was way back in the 70s too!

  8. It was one of those just like the night before when you knew something was going to happen that would cause you to lose.The night before a sac fly and a squeeze then the walk off.Two out of three rarely happen.Last night a walk,then two HBP,then an in infield hit.Again a bizarre inning.Bottom line is we scored 2 runs and then 3 runs.Can’t win with offense doing that.

  9. Homer was going off on the FO trading Bruce off. He needs to keep his mouth shut and do his dang job. Three straight batters, a walk and 2 HBP. A bunt of his goes for a double play. And, he’s actually worried about what the FO is doing?

    • I have no issue with his first HBP. Came inside and right before he threw that pitch I said “Well if he’s going in there, he needs to make sure it is in.” In that case, I was happy with him missing in and hitting the guy than missing over the plate because otherwise the ball may have gone a long way. The second HBP was more annoying. I don’t like the back-foot breaking-ball there and would have gone up the ladder with a fastball. Mostly out of fear of a WP or HBP. On the BB, I thought Homer got squeezed on 2 of the pitches.

      He had a rough night but it’s his second start back. I think we can give him a break.

  10. On Thursday night, the Old Cossack mistakenly reported that Nick Senzel had smacked a HR in the Dragons’ game on 8/4/16. Of course the Old Cossack was appropriately corrected the following morning. The HR had been smacked by Daniel Sweet, not Nick Senzel.

    Funny thing happened following that mistake. In the following game on Friday night, Senzel did smack a HR, to make up for the one he didn’t hit on Thursday, while going 3-4. Then for good measure and I’m sure out of a sense of debt to the Old Cossack for not having hit a HR on Thursday, Senzel smacked another HR on Saturday while again going 3-4.

    In 142 PA for the Dragons, Senzel is now slashing .333/.443/.579 for a whopping 1.022 OPS. That’s a .443 OBP & a .246 ISO. He’s got a 16.2% SO% and a 15.5% BB%. Geez by gosh by golly, that’s pretty good. Maybe Senzel needs to see some better pitching?

    • It would be the makings of quite a “class” if Senzel, Okey, Freidl, and Trammell were all to open the 2017 at AA and move on up as performance merited. I’d guess it is a reasonable possibility for the 3 college guys but that Trammell will go to Dayton or high A

      • I don’t see either Trammell or Freidl starting at AA. Trammell is awfully young and hasn’t exactly dominated at rookie ball. Freidl needs to get his feet wet against professional competition. No need to throw him into the fire yet. You could make a good case that both Senzel and Okey are ready though. Might be a question for Doug when he does his questions and answers features later.

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