Despite today’s drubbing, the Cincinnati Reds are 16-11 since the All-Star game during which time they have outscored their opponents 135-103.

Perhaps it’s because the game wasn’t interesting. Perhaps it’s because I turned the volume off the broadcast to flee Thom Brennaman’s commentary and the room was quiet. For some reason I fell asleep on the couch and missed a chunk of the game. It’s altogether possible I never uncovered my eyes after the two base running mistakes in the first inning.

The Reds return home for a tough 10-game home stand starting tomorrow. They play four against the (Stanton-less) Miami Marlins, four against the LA Dodgers and finish with two against the Texas Rangers.

Cincinnati 3  Milwaukee 7 |  FanGraphs  | Closer than today’s game

Positives: Billy Hamilton’s three hits. Keyvius Sampson’s five innings of relief. Joey Votto’s 2-run homer. Bryan Price finally figuring out the only correct time to use Ross Ohlendorf.

Negatives: Everything else.


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! 74 Comments

  1. I feel like I have fooled myself many times before, but can Billy H actually hit?

    • His first double should have been caught, his second double was a ground ball… grounders go through sometimes, sometimes they don’t. His third hit was a line drive, at least.

      Sometimes you have days like this where everything drops in and you get a generous score from the official scorer. The important thing for Billy is he’s been keeping away from fly balls pretty well this season.

      • Iine drives get caught sometimes, and sometimes they don’t, though I do understand that they are more likely to be hits than are ground balls, and I appreciate your message, Patrick, which I take to be that it is too early to uncross our fingers about Billy’s hitting.

        • Yeah, I think so. The way teams play him in the infield (in) really takes away a large portion of would-be infield hits. So, for him to get a bunch of hits, he needs to sustain an elevated line drive rate, which is something that is hard to do and takes a long time to be proven as reliable.

    • He’s figuring it out with some help from Votto. Great athlete.

    • So can we at least lay to rest the myth that Hamilton cannot hit left-handed?

  2. More positives:

    Mary Beth, “ephemera” , uh….I got nothing else!

    • +50 … 25 each for MB and ephemera

    • One of the positives–Ohlendorf’s correct usage–may be jumping the gun: He was used at the correct time in this game, but that doesn’t prove that Price has seen the light. A rare example of Steve as Pollyanna.

  3. Let’s put the Cody Reed experiment on hold and ship him back to AAA for some fine tuning. Kid throws way too many fat pitches.

    Hope the Reds dust Ryan Braun when they see him next. I hate that cheater.

    • Agree on Reed. It’s one thing to throw fat pitches, but his inability to hold runners or even glance their way told me that his head wasn’t in the game. There was a lot of that from the Reds in that first inning. They didn’t seem ready to play today.

      • yes. bad baserunning – Votto getting picked off… not good. they were asleep.

    • I feel the same way about Braun. Why do so many other guys catch flack for the same thing Braun did?

      • Nobody did the same thing Braun did. He drug somebody else’s name and professional career through the mud to cover he was cheating

        Palmero went after congress, A-Rod the players’ union, no one else an innocent MLB employee

    • Agree if nothing else, they are going to miss the window on Sampson. He will be 26 next season and may not have a 100 innings under his belt. He obviously is stretched out, has out performed Reed, and they need to know what he can do.

    • I agree, I have been of this opinion for a few starts now. Seems to have lost all confidence, couldn’t throw it over the plate with 2 strikes. Being in the big leagues is doing nothing for his confidence right now. Let him get a few starts under his belt in AAA to end the year on a high note.

  4. Steve it seems Billy has come alive since you wrote that piece on him. Any chance you could write a few more on other players?

  5. Yes it is probably time to put Reed back in AAA he not ready yet. As Chris Welch said the minors are for experimenting and learning, the majors are for preforming. Even though this is a rebuild season, he is just not progressing at the major league level at this time. His confidence has to be taking a big hit.

    • They kind of blew it with him, not sure why you rush the a kid who has less than 150 innings above A ball. They seem to be handling Stephenson pretty well and he has got 2 solid MLB starts under his belt

  6. For all of the people who questioned Reed being sent down, I don’t think any of us could have put it better than Chris Welch.

  7. Poor Schebler may never get another hit! He has more ability than a lot of guys with bat speed and power but he just can’t seem to relax and play! They won’t call up Winker because they said they were going to give him SS an extended look but with Miami and LA in the race it would’ve been a good test for Winker!

  8. So in the first inning – Joey hits a groundball back to Peralta. He fakes throwing to 3rd, then actually goes to 3rd after BHam rounds too hard and gets him in a rundown. By definition, that’s a hit for Joey since both himself AND the runner on second advanced safely to the next base. In reality, I understand why it isn’t, and shouldn’t, be a hit. However, rules as written, this probably should be a hit for Joey.

    • I have to keep telling myself that Cody Reed is young and he’ll get better, but he looked numb out there today, that first inning he had a look of maybe accepted defeat. I don’t get how bob steve could be any worse than Cody or anyone else. Send him down and let him build back up. Also, I like Schebler, but there is something dare I say beer league softball about his swing that bothers me. At least BHam and Votto are playing well.

    • I don’t believe your assessment of the proper scoring decision regarding Votto’s ground ball to Peralta in the 1st inning is correct. That play is scored as a fielder’s choice, the fielder opts to make a play other than throwing to 1B for the easy, sure out. Irrespective of what happens on a fielder’s choice, that is not a hit. It is scored as an out for the batter, same as a fielding error, even if no out is recorded or an out is recorded after the batter reaches 1B.

  9. Schebler was burning up AAA when he was called up. Maybe, when all is said and done, he is just a AAAA player. Then again, Willie Mays struggled to hit in the majors for his first two years. What kept him up was his fantastic play in centerfield (and in the old Polo Grounds, that meant something).
    Cody Reed has ML ability, but his confidence and concentration are pretty shattered right now. I think it would help him get more work and confidence if he went back down to AAA and had some good starts down there.
    Bring up Amir Garrett. He will be on the staff next year anyways. He is out of years he can be in the minors (all that basket ball playing and such). Might as well bring him up and get him some innings.

    • “Then again, maybe Scott Schebler is Willie Mays.” That’s some really amazing optimism. Love it!

    • Garrett has one option year remaining; and thus can be optioned next year.

    • I don’t know if it was Chris Welch or Thom Brenneman and I am sure someone else pointed out to them but one of them made a great observation about Schebler. He is not in a good hitting position he is holding his hands to low so his first move is up and back to get ready instead of being ready and taking his hands straight to the ball. I know it is his trigger and it may have worked alright but now he is facing major league pitchers he is going to need to adjust. I will say this in his defense the opposing pitchers are treating him like he is hitting in the 3 or 4 hole, it doesn’t seem like they are relaxing any with him.

  10. I have enjoyed watching the team play. There were serious questions just before the All Star break when they were soundly beaten repeatedly by the Cubs and appeared listless against the Marlins. But, Votto, Cozart, and yes, Phillips, have been professionals and kept this team focused on playing good baseball( for the most part….. today’s hiccup notwithstanding.) Dan Straily and Adam Duvall and Billy Hamilton and Tucker Barnhart have all been pleasant surprises. I look forward to the days Disco/Homer/Iglesias and Lorenzen pitch. They have been super at times. Reed clearly needs to go to AAA and figure it out, but he also had a rather rapid rise to the big leagues ….so two steps forward one step back….I will reserve judgment until 2017. Suarez and Finnegan have earned more playing time. Peraza and Herrera have a job to do in AAA and at least there is a purpose for them now. The performances of Jesse Winker and Nick Senzel are additional reasons to be optimistic.

    I don’t think I would bring up Garrett or Stephenson now. Let them prove themselves and sustain success until the Louisville season is over. I would let Sampson start in Reed’s spot the next few weeks and bring up a deserving bullpen guy from Louisville.

    • Sending Reed down for two weeks probably doesn’t make much sense. He’ll be part of September call ups. Maybe put him in the pen? Chris Welch was spot on with his analysis of him though.

      • There was some indication that Reed was going to be on an innings watch by the end of the MLB season regardless. If they send him down, there is still time for him to get in 3 or 4 starts at AAA plus they could then conceivably move him to AA to pitch in the playoffs which Pensacola has already qualified to be in, It might make sense just to do something like this and then send him home for the offseason since he has only made 3 or so relief appearances since his year in rookie ball.

  11. Fun facts, as of right now votto is 13th all time in obp, and 19th in ops. I’d say that’s pretty good.

    • With at least 1000 games played

    • There are all sorts of fun Votto all-time facts if you dig deep enough! The guy is a statistician’s dream.

    • My personal favorite… there are 3 left-handed hitters with a .395+ OBP and .500+ SLG against left-handed pitchers.

      Ted Williams
      Barry Bonds
      Joey Votto

      • That’s a good one

      • Ted William’s wrote a great book about his philosophy on hitting. Maybe Votto could write one about walking.

        • Funny that you bring that up. Ted Williams was apparently excoriated by fans for refusing to swing at pitches out of the zone and for taking walks. He was the proto-Votto.

        • Votto has previously referenced Williams as his model for hitting. I know he used to carry Williams book with him. Yes, as I-71 mentioned, Williams had the same problem as Votto with rigid, vocal detractors for focusing on not making outs rather than driving in runs.

        • Per plate appearance:

          Williams: walked 20.64%
          Votto: walked 15.99%

          Williams: hit 27.1%
          Votto: hit 25.64%

          Hit to walk ratio
          Williams: 1.31 hits per walk
          Votto: 1.60 hits per walk

        • Walking is part of hitting. “Hitting” is anything you do at the plate, and not swinging at bad pitches is a good thing, all the time. Swinging at bad pitches is NEVER the right thing to do.

        • @I-71_Exile – And for hitting into the shift! The fans hated all that.

        • Scotly… currently 5 of the top 6 NL Team in team walks also happen to be in first place or directly in contention for the Wild Card: Chicago, Milwaukee (outlier), San Fran, Washington, St. Louis, Pittsburgh.

          The Reds are about 150 BB behind the NL leading Cubbies. This of course suggests that most of the time, getting on base, not making outs, leads to more opportunities for runs and more wins. Someone may want to parse that out and say “but it’s not fun to watch.” To each their own, but I’d sure like to be in the Cubs position right now. Supporting a winning team is usually fun.

          Joey Votto is not the scapegoat you are looking for.

      • I would have guessed Babe Ruth was one of them.

        • I suppose that is possible… I just went back and looked and Ruth doesn’t have LH/RH splits, so maybe data from bath then is either not available or not reliable.

      • Ted Williams first rule of hitting was get a good pitch to hit. He was a .193 hitter on low and away sliders. I thought of that watching Scott Schebler roll over on an unhittable 2-0 pitch yesterday for a weak groundball out. If you cant drive a pitch, don’t swing at it….unless you have 2 strikes and you are Joey Votto and you foul it out of the catchers mitt.

  12. Too soon to tell, but is there any info on the BP injury. Fouled another pitch off of his leg/foot yesterday and had to leave the game.

    • The Reds site said Phillips suffered a contusion (near his knee I believe) when Arcia slid into him stealing 2B. Of course he’ll probably be day to day.

      It’s a shame the Reds traded for a MLB ready 2B who is injured right when some playing time opened up. Oh well, if he came up he’d probably sit behind DeJesus anyway.

      • Given that we’ve recently learned that Herrera had the shoulder issue before the trade; and, the Reds were aware of it, the shame may turn out to be that the Reds went on and did the deal for him.

        • Right?! Especially after saying no to Wheeler (an injured but talented player), backing out out of the Angels/Jays trade due to medicals, and then reworking this deal due to medicals on another prospect. They went through all of that in a year, just trying to trade Bruce, and then end up trading that him for a guy who was injured anyway. SMH.

          I still believe the injury turned out to be much more severe than the Reds were led to believe which is why it’s been quiet on all fronts from the Reds outside of “he’s not injured he’s just sore”.

  13. Votto’s 2nd half surge of .463/.558/.726/1.285 continues to humble NL pitching, despite a regression from his absurdly unsustainable (even for Votto) 1.500 OPS. His current production mirrors his 2nd half offensive explosion from last season.

    During the past 57 games, Votto has increased:

    .178 OPS from .765 to .943 & 5th in the NL
    .093 SLG from .421 to .514 & 18th in the NL
    .084 OBP from .345 to .429 & 1st in the NL
    .082 AVG from .221 to .303 & 14th in the NL

    There are 46 games remaining in the season.

    Murphy has started to come back to the pack during August with a .933 OPS and a .568 SLG. That’s still very good but his season numbers are regressing. With a month and a half left in the season, the NL MVP could get interesting if Votto and Rizzo can match or exceed Murphy’s OPS. Braun is entering the picture, but with his history, I don’t think he garner enough serious MVP consideration again to stay competitive. Carpenter is sliding back quickly after returning from the DL and has played 25 fewer games this season due to injury. Bryan could surge into contention, but then he and Rizzo may compete for some of the same votes. With Kershaw down with significant injury time this season, I don’t see any pitchers in the mix for NL MVP.

    Votto’s full-season results of .303/.429/.514/.943 leave him:

    .060 OPS behind NL leader Murphy @ 1.003
    .027 OPS behind NL 2nd place Rizzo @ .970

    .102 SLG behind NL leader Murphy @ .616
    .058 SLG behind NL 2nd place Rizzo @ .572

    .019 OBP ahead NL 2nd place Goldschmidt @ .410
    .024 OBP ahead NL 3rd place LeMahieu @ .405

    .045 AVG behind NL leader Murphy @ .348
    .029 AVG behind NL 2nd place Ramos @ .332

    Votto can realistically catch Rizzo and Murphy in AVG & OPS, has already passed everyone in OBP & probably won’t match Rizzo and certainly won’t match Murphy in SLG. With Murphy and Rizzo playing on division champs and Votto languishing on a last place team, it looks like Votto may be headed for another 3rd place finish in the NL MVP voting. That’s not bad for a 33-year-old 1B.

    • Bryant, as a plus defender and plus base runner, is the front-runner in my book. But I think you are 100% correct that he and Rizzo will split a few votes, leading to Daniel Stinkin Murphy winning it (assuming he doesn’t have a meltdown).

  14. It seemed curious to many that in Sunday’s game during Reed’s 1st inning meltdown, the catcher did not visit the mound to try and settle him; and, the pitching coach did not go out until after the 7th batter (3rd walk) of the inning. Count me among the curious as it was unfolding.

    However in retrospect I’ve come to think it may well have been a conscious “leaving alone” of Reed, a statement that the time for talking and coaching was past, that the time for performing was at hand.

    Think of the situation as a test in school or a training program. The pupil had been shown and aided in every way possible over an extended period. Now it was the time for him to demonstrate his understanding and command of the material.

    • Here is Mark Sheldon’s look at Reed’s day Sunday with comments from Reed and Price.

      Note in the last couple of paragraphs Price’s focus “….he’s throwing a lot of same-plane pitches, meaning he doesn’t have a lot of downward trajectory on any of his pitches”. Three weeks ago i heard Price saying the same thing and that they had identified the reason for this and explained to Reed what he needed to do to fix the problem.

      • That’s when your battery mate actually needs to go out and give a little reminder. I don’t like that nobody went out there. I don’t even like it a little bit.

  15. If I remember right Reed’s last start he went 6 innings and gave up no runs.I think this was the nightmare game where we gave up 5 runs after two were out against the Cards.I expected the start yesterday to be a good one as well but it wasn’t to be.OHIOJIMW maybe on to something by what happened in the game yesterday.By the time the pitching coach went out he had walked 3 and they had stolen 4 bases.Reed knows you can’t do that at any level and nobody should have to remind him so what does the pitching coach or anybody else do.Maybe when he comes off the field you pull him aside and ask him what he’s doing.After the first inning my thoughts were that maybe you just leave him out for 90 pitches or so and if he gets humiliated maybe he learns that way.Keep in mind he was 0-2 on the first two batters and then threw 4 straight balls to each of them.

    • The issue with the flat trajectory pitches is that Reed is not keeping his hand/ fingers high enough on the ball. Price explained this in more detail than he usually does when I heard him talking about it on the Reds radio pregame 3-4 weeks ago,

      I don’t have the video they have so I can’t say for sure but I’d bet $$$ against donuts that when Reed has runs of looking good like his start in StL or that start where he gave 4 but 1st inning runs then pitched 4 or 5 shutdown innings that he is getting on top of the ball and staying there. And it follows, when he is getting trashed and throwing balls, he probably is not maintaining the correct hand position.

      So, the team went to the video, found the issue and clearly has worked with him on it, If he keeps backsliding, what are they to do? Another Price quote from the Sheldon article I linked above is that Reed is not now the same pitcher he was in the minors when he was pitching so well. It just sounds to me like they’ve reached the end of their patience with him for now and feel like it is up him to go do what they’ve told him to do.

      • Sounds like a lot of young pitchers. Maybe getting wracked around like that will make something click in his brain. The Reds had better hope so.

  16. All I know is….they must think Reed is tougher then old folks toenails mentally to keep sending him out there to receive his beatdowns! The kid doesn’t really have anything close to an offspeed pitch at this point. Lamb had several good outings and he got sent down. I think he had a 3.10 era in June. How many young pitchers can pull off 7ip 1 er in Colorado? Price also has Adelman and Sampson that he could turn to!

  17. UPDATE

    Cody Reed has been optioned to Louisville, and Waldrop has been called up. Thoughts?

    • Probably OK at this point.

      The only thing that matters (to me) is that he’s ready to be a decent MLB pitcher in April 2018.

    • Sadly, this needed to happen. Hopefully he will go down, get decompressed, work on what he needs to work on (see above) and be ready for next season.

      However, I believe it is now an open question as to whether Amir Garrett moves ahead of Reed in the pecking order. Recall that Garrett is older than Reed and also has only one option year left after this season, both of which would tend to push him ahead other factors (i.e. performance) being even close to equal.

      As far as I’ve seen there has been no announcement yet about who fills the rotation spot with the Reds. What I hope is that is will be Keyvius Sampson; and, that he will grab this second chance and run with it into 2017, which if it happens should ironically help fuel Reed for his road back.

      • I’m no scout but I used to be a lefty pitcher in high school and was coached pretty well. I can tell you that Garrett uses his height much better then Reed or Lamb to drive that slider downwards. I don’t think he throws all that hard but as we’ve seen with Reed….velocity isn’t everything! Maybe Garrett can come up in September and we’ll find out!

  18. He’ll get his chance next year but I have to admit I’m disappointed. He’s young but I didn’t see overwhelming arm talent or any mlb ready off-speed stuff! Almost everyone throws 93 now! He’s only 23 so who knows? Royals lefty Danny Duffy sits at 95 and can hit 97-98 with a nasty slider and off-speed but he’s 28 or 29 and the is the first year he’s finally figured it out as a starter.

    Bottom line….you just keep stockpiling as many good arms as you can and hope most (or some?) of them figure it out! Lorenzen’s groundball % is like 66% so far this year….that’s my candidate for the rotation!!

Comments are closed.

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.


Titanic Struggle Recap


, , , ,