The sick thing about tonight’s win is how close the Reds came to winning the first two games of the series. Nice bounce back team victory after last night’s calamity.

Cincinnati 7  St. Louis 4 |  FanGraphs  | Count Basie – St. Louis Boogie

This wasn’t a great night for Brandon Finnegan. In his previous two starts, Finnegan had tossed back-to-back 6-inning shutouts. The latest one was against these same Cardinals. Tonight, Finnegan went six innings again, but gave up three runs on 6 hits and 6 walks. Free passes have been a problem for Finnegan at various times this season. Last week against the Cardinals he didn’t walk anyone. Chris Welsh explained that it’s hard to face the same team two times in a row. Even if you have success the first time, it’s harder to fool them (think of how much better batters do in the second and third times through the lineup in a single game). We’ve seen a few bright moments from Finnegan, but his ERA/FIP/xFIP is still 4.45/5.68/5.14.

Michael Lorenzen surrendered a run on a double and 2-out single in the 7th. That tied the game 4-4. The run snapped his streak of 11 innings without giving up a run. He returned to pitch the 8th and faced the minimum. Lorenzen had three strikeouts. Despite giving up a run, Lorenzen qualified for the win because of when the offense scored and because assigning pitcher wins is stupid.

Raisel Iglesias pitched the 9th for his first MLB save. He retired the Cardinals in order. Don’t get ahead of yourself (or the Reds). It’s unlikely he’s going to be the closer going forward. So far, the Reds haven’t let him (or Lorenzen) pitch on back-to-back days, which is a pretty important thing for closers. Maybe next year.

Adam Duvall singled in two runs in the top of the third inning. Billy Hamilton had two hits, two walks, three stolen bases and scored two runs. Zack Cozart had three hits. Joey Votto had two hits and a walk. Adam Duvall had a walk to go with his hit.

Tucker Barnhart doubled and Tyler Holt singled with two outs in the top of the 8th to give the Reds back the lead. Billy Hamilton then hit a soft grounder that Matt Carpenter couldn’t play in time. When Carpenter let the ball roll by him, Holt scored. Then Zack Cozart blooped a single into right center, scoring Hamilton.

Eugenio Suarez made a great defensive play in the 5th inning fielding a smash off the bat of Stephen Piscotty and firing a shot to Brandon Phillips at second, nailing Matt Carpenter who had run on the pitch. Phillips completed a double play with Carpenter sliding into him.

Hello from the future. The Cardinals used 21-year-old Alex Reyes to pitch in the 9th. Reyes is their #1 prospect and he’d been called up earlier in the day to replace last night’s starter, Michael Wacha who was put on the DL. Reyes struck out the first batter he faced, Adam Duvall, on a 101 mph fastball and retired the Reds in order.

For AAA-Louisville, Amir Garrett pitched 7 innings. He gave up three hits and two earned runs. He struck out 7 and walked none. He threw 93 pitches. The Bats lost 2-0.

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky’s Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve’s thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.

Join the conversation! 61 Comments

  1. BHam’s approach at the plate is so much better then the past and really encouraging. Not a stat geek but it seems like he has worked a lot 0-2 counts to 3-2 and occasionally walks. Last year those would have been K’s on pitches out of the zone. Great to see and love watching his progress. His one out tonight was a rocket right at the RF

    • I really like the way Hamilton is progressing this season at the plate. He seems to be developing into a potential major league lead off hitter. Don’t know all the exact stats myself, but he sure seems to be walking more, and increasing his OBP. Seems to really be improving his command of the strike zone which is crucial especially at the top of the order.

      • Yeah, he is no longer the single worst hitter in MLB. I would prefer the guy who will get the most PAs on the team be at least an average hitter, just me maybe.

    • The guy works hard and it’s nice to see he and Votto working together grass-roots style resulting in Hamilton coming around a little. No reason to not collaborate knowledge from MLB’s best hitter with willing teammates. Everyone has their own approach because they’re professionals, but being open to working closely with such an excellent teammate is a great thing.

    • As Steve has pointed out, the numbers, although better than last year, still are pretty much in line with his first full season. That paints him as a pretty poor hitter. That said, my eyeballs are seeing a much better approach out of him. I think we’ll see better numbers than his first full season by the end of the year and going into next year.

  2. If I was BC, WJ, and DW. I would sit Price down and tell him, his decisions to get or his help in decisions to get Marquis and Gregg last year did not work at all….why would Ohlendorf be any different?? STOP acquiring these washed up pitchers that Hurt the Team, case in point, last night! Reds could have won 2 games now on the Cardinals, last night and tonight. Winning Series has been really impossible to do against the Cardinals, and it would have been a great confidence booster to have done that…especially on the Road!

    • No matter what Price’s contribution, it is WJ and DW who are responsible for which players are on the roster. Price of course should not be using Olendorf in the situation from last night. He has no business on the roster of this rebuilding team though IMO.

      • Sure Price is not responsible for who’s on the roster but as soon as he heard Gregg was on the roster he said “Closer experience !” and immediately made him the 8th inning guy.

        And he uses Ohlendorf in high leverage situations because he’s a veteran. Like the Reds manager before him, he overrates the value of experience. Gregg and O. are washed up pitchers who were never that good to begin with.

    • Price doesn’t make roster decisions. What are you talking about?

    • Price doesn’t make the decisions on acquiring players.

      A great bounce back win. This team is slowly starting to mesh.

  3. Amir Garrett is at 120 innings after tonight. He pitched 140 last season and 133 in 2014. Might they let him go as high as 160 this year, seeing as how he is 24 and has only next year left on option? However it breaks down I hope they save some innings for September with the Reds.

    • I do hope we get to see him this year but knowing this front office that seems unlikely. If there is a silver-lining with being a Reds fan, it has definitely made me more patient!

  4. A good comeback win with relief pitching that gets it done. And not a bad game from another Reds young lefthander.

  5. I was on the road and didn’t see the game I find it telling that satellite radio didn’t carry it either. These are the growing pains I was expecting from this young staff. Finnegan doesn’t walk any one in two 6 inning outings and then gives up 6 walks tonight it may have been the dirty birds seeing twice that close or it could just be growing pains. I have loved what Hamilton’s speed has brought to this team even while he was terrible at the plate please don’t let these last 2 months or so be a fluke. I had hoped that Finnegan, Lorenzen and Iglesias would all work into starters but it is looking like only Finnegan but I am OK with that the way Iggy and Lorenzen look to bolster the bullpen. There is still some growing pains for this young staff but that is alright just for tonight they got the W and minus several walks it looked great in the box score!

    • I think Finnegan is still a ways away from being a lock in the rotation going forward. He has some work to do for sure

      Homer, Desclafani, Bob Steve, Reed, Garrett would be my guess as it stands now for the end of 2017/start of 2018

      • I think Iglesius is more like than Stephenson. Heck, Reed is no lock either. I think we will need another top starter not yet on this team before his team goes to the playoffs.

        • No, if you’ve followed the Reds at all, you know that IglesiAs is a bullpen guy for them.

      • Stephenson’s stock has fallen dramatically in my eyes. Walk rate up, strikeout rate down, ERA and indicators above league average for the International League, and he’s 23. It would be silly to give up hope in him but I am at the point that I’d no longer count on him to be a force in the next good team’s rotation.

  6. A win against the Cards is sweet no matter the relative directions of the franchises.

  7. Someday when Iglesias has been around a little longer, he will get those several very close calls he really wanted and did not get tonight. But it was refreshing to see how he did not let himself get deterred from the big picture when they did not go his way tonight.

  8. If I counted correctly, that’s 24 SB’s in the last 20 games for Billy. 100+ next season!

  9. Price said after the game that they might have found “a role” that Iglesias would be comfortable in.
    Then in Iglesias’ interview after the game he enthusiastically said (through his interpreter) that he wanted to be the closer. He is embracing this idea. But he did add twice that whatever role the Reds had in mind for him he was ready.
    I hate to say it because I would like to see him as a starter, but a closer was born tonight.
    Did anyone else notice after the game, there were no smiles on the faces of the players as they came off the field. Very stoic. Votto looked like he was still PO’d about K-ing earlier. A very workman like win and attitude tonight after last night. It was all business.
    Again, a closer was born tonight.

    • I hope not, making anyone with Iglesias’ talent a closer is bad asset management. While his shoulder may not hold up as a starter limiting him to a 60-70 inning role were most of them would be low leverage would be a waste.

      • flip side is the chance to impact close to 50% of the games

        • Effect them so minimally that it really doesn’t have much of an effect at all. That impact you speak of is extremely minimal unless they use him multiple innings and in high leverage situations frequently instead of the traditional closer role.

        • The quantity of games doesn’t matter, rather the high leverage situations he is able to be effective in. Pitching in a bunch of 9th innings with a 3 run lead is not how he should be utilized. Way too talented for that.

      • ^This. . .

      • Unless you go with a two inning closer.

    • I could see Iglesias as the next Mariano Rivera

      But do I want Rivera or Roger Clements

  10. Garrett overtaking Stephenson as Bob Steve continues to struggle. I will bet Bob Steve is about to be shut down for the season again with ” dead arm”
    The Progression of Billy Hamilton is happening and it is a beautiful thing to watch. Another game with BHam as a catalyst. This will never get old.

  11. I agree….games are lost in the 6th-7th inning too and not just the 9th. At the same time…its a big deal to the pitcher and making them comfortable is important too! If at some point his health holds up where he could get a 5 out save then come back 2-3 days later and get back to back 3 out saves then they would be getting more mileage out of him. Like the Yankees used to do with Mariano Rivera back in the day!

    Steve…you might want to reconsider Billy’s season. It good to be wrong or atleast temporarily inaccurate sometimes though. I would’ve pulled Finnegan and Reed from the rotation already so it might be good that I’m not in charge!

    • I agree that with relievers it is about inning count and making as of the innings as possible high leverage innings for the best relief pitchers. This said, it takes some depth in the bullpen to expect a manager not to use his most dominating reliever last be that for a more than a 3 out save or a traditional 1 inning save because at the end a team has no outs left to bounce back from a blown lead. Therefore a manager is going to likely use his most dominant reliever last unless he has several competent relievers..

      • Good comment but you’ve got to use Iglesias (if he’s not starting) for more than the usual 60 closer innings. Why not use him the way closers were once used – more like 100 high-leverage innings. That would mean have a secondary closer, I think Lorenzen could play that role.

        I won’t go back to ancient history, but in 1999 Jack McKeon very effectively used Scott Williamson as a multiple inning closer and Danny Graves as co-closer.

  12. On the negative side….Schebler is really pressing! On his first atbat…Leake makes a perfect pitch on the outside corner on the knees and Schebler rolls over and hits a little weak dribbler to the right side for an out. He’s got to lay off the pitchers pitches and go the other way on the outside pitches. Basically do what he did to get called up again in the first place. I think he’s just pressing! The ball jumps off his bat but he’s getting himself out right now! Duvall was doing the same thing…being over aggressive and swinging at every 1st pitch and getting down in the count. When you make the All-Star team and a ton of HRs then they quit throwing you cookies on the first pitch! Work the count and take your walks! Its a work in progress for these guys. They’re not that young but they’re still new to playing fulltime!!

  13. Pham is terrible in CF. The Cardinals defense is weak overall, and this is the weakest Cardinal team in years. But they still might make the playoffs, because the NL only has a few good teams this year.

    • And maybe Jocketty and William et al had this figured out that the NL looked thin in depth and that a wild card run was not crazy or could be made simultaneously with the start to a “reboot”. Maybe that’s why the original push to have Homer ready early etc. If wishes were horses…. as Don Meredith reminded those of us of a certain age; but, if the Reds had not had a rotation worth injured pitchers at the onset they could have been in the middle of things WC wise; or so it appears.

    • I mentioned that last night. That outfield looks little league. That team just isnt that good overall.

  14. I believe bullpen should be set at 7 pitchers. Given performances for the last month or so, they should have Diaz, Sampson & Smith as starters to set-up; Lorenzen, Wood/Iglesias & Cingrani as set-ups to closer and Iglesias/Wood as closers. Too bad Cingrani continues struggling with his control, not suited yet for closing duties. No more Ohlendorf.

  15. Raisel Iglesias should probably be our closer. He’s got the stuff. I’d rather see Holt in RF than “swing and a miss at a high fastball” Schebler.

  16. separate note…. I really like the way Duvall plays left field

  17. Even though Schebler is struggling at the plate, it was good to see his hustle create a run. He got hit by a pitch, made a nice steal of 2B, tagged up and hustled to 3B on a fly ball to straight away CF, and hustled home to score on Barnhart’s ground out.
    Now if he can just get his bat going.

    • I like the overall hustle on this team. I see almost everyone busting down the line and going all out in defense.

  18. Addressing a couple of earlier comments about Price bearing responsibility for Ohlander. It is accurate that Price did not put him on the roster. That blame belongs to WJ. Using Ohlander to pitch in high leverage situations and the resulting failures are completely Price’s fault. Years ago, Sparky benched Vukovich because he could not hit and installed Rose at 3rd base. Sparky took responsibility for what happened on the field and made a change… and the results were a world champion.

    Price has a team lacking talent in many areas, so you can only expect so much out of his managing. But his handling of Ohlander this year and Gregg last year demonstrate that he should not be the Reds manager of the future.

    • You’re comparing apples to picture frames.

      Sparky had a weak hitting 3rd baseman and George Foster on the bench. He made a move to remove a marginal player in order to insert a very good player. Sparky had a better option at his disposal and went with the better option.

      He also had the power to make that move….and players of that era weren’t in a position to complain about switching positions. Rose may have been willing to ” take one for the team”….but, he was also working on a 1 year contract and had just had his pay cut because he walked too much in 1974. Even Pete Rose was relatively powerless.

      Price…like all managers…screws up at times. He also is limited in who is available on a given day and has not been blessed with an abundance of bull pen talent. I’m reasonably certain he knew that Gregg sucked..knows that Ohlenhoover sucks….but, you can only use the guys you have to use.

      Had Sparky Anderson been named the manager of the 1970 Padres he likely would’ve died as an unknown car salesman in Burbank. Had Dave Bristol kept his job as manager of the Reds he would likely be in the HOF.

      • Did Rose really take a pay cut for walking to much? That was back when Al Michaels did Reds games still so pre-Marty.

      • If you think the comparison is that far off, you are obviously missing the point about a manager using his resources to the team’s best advantage.
        I am not sure Price knew Gregg totally sucked. He used him as a closer initially and only figured it out well afterward.

  19. @James H.referenced above Hamilton’s work with Votto that Jim Day mentioned on the brodcast yesterday. JD mentioned that Votto has been including Hamilton in his daily hitting workout with Don Long for the past 30 days, specifically extending Hamilton a personal invitation to join him when he heads out for his hitting workout.

    Over the past 30 days, Hamilton has slashed .298/.365/.327 with a .365 Babip, a 16.6% SO% & a 9.6% BB%.

    Two issues from Hamilton’s recent improvement with his his plate approach…

    1) Votto had the same type of impact on Bruce as Bruce changed his plate approach. If Votto can help significantly improve the offensive performance of hitters as diverse as Bruce and Hamilton, then he he is way more valuable than his current contract and Votto should have a pide piper caravan following him to his hitting workout with Don Long.

    2) If this is the fully developed or near-fully developed Billy Hamilton, then the Old Cossack’s fear has come to fruition and the Reds (read WJ!) truly wasted 2 years of service time for Billy Hamilton.

    • When BHam got a neutral to hitters count Tuesday night, he surely knew what to do with it, not overlooking of course that a major part of the recent improvement has been learning how to get to those counts.

      I wonder if Duvall is also sitting in on these sessions? On the whole he is doing better at running counts deeper when he’s not getting a pitch to drive; but too many times he is just rolling it over into the shift when he gets to 2/2 or 3/2 counts.

    • One thing about ballplayers is, if they think it works, they’ll try it.

  20. It is interesting to note the massive swings of the fan base relative to BP’s hitting and Bham’s progression based on their productivity from any recent set of 2-12 games. This recency bias is something that the players, coaches and fans (and any performer in any job) really have to try to fight. I hope I don’t sound like a negative Nancy when I say – Bham is not as good of a player for 600 ABs as he was this past week, and nor is BP.

    Sidebar: I think BHam is a starting CF in the MLBs, always (for the rest of his career, no matter how good he’s been recently playing, batting 8 or 9.

  21. ESPN just posted an interesting read on the TJ Friedl signing. This looks like a steal so far.

  22. Often wondered why more players didn’t shadow Votto all the time.You would have to pick up something that would help you I would think.Billy,Duvall and Suarez are taking more and more pitches which is always a good thing if it gets you a walk or a better pitch to hit.

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About Steve Mancuso

Steve grew up in Cincinnati as a die-hard fan of Sparky's Big Red Machine. After 25 years living outside of Ohio, mostly in Ann Arbor, he returned to the Queen City in 2004. He has resumed a first-person love affair with the Cincinnati Reds and is a season ticket holder at Great American Ball Park. The only place to find Steve's thoughts of more than 140 characters is Redleg Nation. Follow his tweets @spmancuso.


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