2016 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Jose Peraza is the bestest, but Reds can’t beat Mike Trout & Company

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (55-76) 2 11 0
Los Angeles Angels (58-74) 4 10 0
W: Weaver (10-11) L: Adleman (2-2)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Jose Peraza simply can not be stopped. Peraza was 4-4 tonight with a double. Guess he wasn’t too hurt last night, eh?

–Joey Votto went 2-4 tonight. He’s now at .400 for the month of August. If he can keep that average above .400 after tomorrow’s game, he’ll become the first Red ever to have back-to-back months of hitting .400+.

–Scott Schebler was 2-4 with a double and a run scored. Eugenio Suarez hit a two-run homer, his 20th of the season.

–Billy Hamilton had a gorgeous, ten-pitch at-bat in the ninth inning that resulted in a walk. It also allowed the go-ahead run to come to the plate. Billy’s night wasn’t all good, though (see below).

The Bad
–Michael Lorenzen pitched a perfect first inning, which was fun since he’s from the Anaheim area (his home is reportedly just five minutes away from the stadium). But then he gave up a leadoff hitter to Mike Trout in the bottom of the eighth, then two singles later to score a run and increase the LA lead to 4-2. It took a very nice-looking double play from Brandon Phillips to end the inning and get Lorenzen out of trouble.

–Until his nice ninth inning AB, Hamilton looked bad at the plate. He was 0-4 with two strikeouts.

–Zack Cozart was 0-5, and he popped out to end the game with the tying run on base.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Mike Trout is just too good. That’s all. He’s just too good at the baseballs.

–Tim Adleman gave up a two-run homer in the first (to CJ Cron, who hit another one in the third, a solo shot), but he settled down to throw six innings, allowing just those three runs on seven hits. That’s pretty much all you can hope for. Good work, Tim Adleman.

–Former Reds pitcher JC Ramirez entered the game for the Angels in the 8th inning, with LA clinging to a 3-2 lead. He threw back-to-back fastballs to Adam Duvall at 99 mph. Duvall singled up the middle on the next pitch, an 89-mph slider. Then Brandon Phillips singled up the middle on the very next pitch, another 99-mph fastball.

But then Ramirez struck out Scott Schebler to end the Reds’ threat.

–The last player to hit .400+ in consecutive months was Josh Hamilton, back in 2010. Only one Red in history has ever had two (nonconsecutive) months in a single season where he hit higher than .400. That was Vada Pinson back in 1961.

29 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Jose Peraza is the bestest, but Reds can’t beat Mike Trout & Company

  1. I get it that Cozart was pretty much the only choice for DH; but, batting him 2nd when Peraza is on a tear? If Cozart was going to bat 2nd, then at least bat Peraza 9th to get him a batter closer to Votto as the line up cycles.

    The torch has passed at SS even if the Reds continue to act like it hasn’t to (presumably) attempt to build some sort of trade value for Cozart in the off season.

    • In fairness to Cozart, I suspect he is playing hurt despite what he or Price might say to contrary. But for a middle infielder at Cozart’s age coming off the major knee surgery and now with a publicly acknowledged “tweaked” achilles on the opposite leg, what we are seeing now may well be his new normal.

      • May be his new normal, maybe not. He was having a very good year, especially considering his excellent defense, and probably is playing hurt. I, too, like Peraza, but SSS.

        • Cozart has really fallen off as the year has progressed. I suspect a lot of that is because of his leg issues; and, in the future, if he plays everyday at SS, that’s the way things will be. His seasonal OPS has fallen below league average. Defensively, within the last couple of weeks he has made public remarks about not being able to move after balls he “normally” would have gotten to. As one of my docs says when I report issues related to aging, “yep, it is what it is”.

        • I’m thinking you guys are right about Cozart being pretty much hurt. He’s gone back to a lot of pop up outs lately, which in my mind is directly attributed to issues with his legs. I would love to see more of Peraza for sure.

  2. Not sure why they put Peraza at the bottom like they did. Maybe they thought he would have some issues after the face shot?

  3. Peraza > Cozart….Zack is a solid player but Peraza is the future. I know its too much to ask to see Peraza play everyday this year but please trade/giveaway Cozart in the offseason.

    Also Lorenzen should not be getting beat with hanging sliders/curveballs or whatever it was? Not when you have a 98 mph sinker that’s dropping off the table. Show it to them or nibble with it but don’t hang it out over the plate! Both Trout and Pujols got hits off him w/hanging offspeed pitches.

    Lastly…I really think they’re going to be disappointed if they think Billy is a leadoff hitter! It seems like he’s wearing down. I would bat him 9th and be done with it. Also if Joe Maddon bats his best hitter Bryant 2nd then I would too. It would’ve been nice to see Joey with the game on the line last night instead of Cozart. Since Joey is on 1st all the time then bat Schebler 3rd vs righties! He loves to hook everything on the ground and there would be a nice hole there w/1B holding Joey on.

  4. The best thing about the things you pointed out Chad is that this game even though we did not win shows that there is a future for baseball in Cincinnati. Just think what could have been if Peraza had been hitting second tonight. The ending might have been different. That is no knock on Cozart, everyone has those 0-5 nights at times. But if Hamilton keeps improving and our young pitchers continue to improve, the future can be bright.

    • I’m more optimistic than most about the rebuild. There are certainly arguments to be made that the Reds have missed the mark on some of their decisions, but I see all the nearly-ready young guys (or already-ready, like Peraza and Finnegan), and I get really excited.

      • We should all pause and remember how many of us panned Peraza’s acquisition. We haven’t seen enough of him yet to know where his level is, but he seems, so far, to be good. So maybe it’s too early to rush to judgment about the other new, young players, as well?

        • I’ll buy-in on Peraza when he has at least a full season of showing me how dumb I was to doubt him.

    • It is easy to lose track of Finnegan’s progress in the last month and a half because of all the noise surrounding Reed and R.Stephenson not being ready yet; and, the very real possibility that Iglesias is destined to be a reliever instead of a starter.

      However, somebody has to anchor the pen on the Reds next good team, so at worst the Reds have got that guy in Iggy.

      There has also been a lot of growth from Suarez over this same period. Duvall has shown he can take a walk and is building a passable OBP for a slugger type who has played average or better corner OF defense. Schebler may be coming on. Winker is looking ready for an opportunity at MLB.

      I think there is a lot to be optimistic about.

  5. Facing the 5th starter tonight on this 6 game trip with an ERA over 5 think we could score more then a couple of runs.We should be 3-2 on the trip even with the bad starts by Homer and Straily if we had scored more then 2 runs.Go Reds.

    • I was borderline disgusted looking in on Gameday seeing what Jared Weaver was doing, throwing low 70 mph curve balls, by 6th inning his fastball was right over the heart of the plate topping out at 83 MPH. Possibly it was a lot better before I started paying attention as Schebler got a 2b followed by Suarez’s HR and Peraza’s single.
      The relief pitcher threw 15 or so pitches and Gameday had him throwing 2 strikes in the zone. Billy’s AB was horrible.

      • He’s never really thrown hard but this year he’s averaging about 83mph on his fastball. 83 as an average. Usually his command allows him to only get hammered and not killed but from what you’re saying, the command wasn’t so great either. Not sure why the Reds didn’t kill him.

  6. The consensus seemed to be that the Peraza-Frazier trade was one of the worst moves ever. Hard to believe that Peraza may actually be good and Frazier seems to be a friendly version of Dave Kingman.

    The Reds spun the Frazier trade to be an economic-rebuild move. I believe they just simply determined that he isn’t that good. Given the lack of interest in him last winter and the Sox’s inability to move him at this year’s deadline, it appears that most other teams reached the same conclusion.

    Peraza may turn out to be horrible…who knows…but, sometimes ” the market” tells us all we need to know.

    • I don’t think you were here at the time, or at least not commenting; but, I took a fair amount of criticism for putting forth the opinion while Frazier was riding high in most folks eyes that I didn’t think he was particularly effective or efficient offensively given the opportunities afforded him. Then the 2nd half 2015 happened and the whole world it seemed was on the bandwagon that the Reds had missed their opportunity to cash out big with Frazier.

      So in light of ensuing events, count me as somewhat partial to your point of view here.

    • I am not sure I disagree with you, but for a guy that isn’t that good he would be third on this team in OPS, probably lead them in HR’s and RBI’s and make them a better team

  7. I realize it’s the morning after — or afternoon after, for all of those in the eastern time zone — and I’ll probably only be talking to myself here, but last night’s game (my sixth chance to see the good guys this year, not counting two spring training games) was my final straw regarding Bryan Price.

    I’m fully on board with the rebuild. I get that next year’s manager is a lame duck. I still think he should go, and go sooner than later.

    1. As others have already said above, batting Peraza eighth was asinine.
    2. It’s not just batting Peraza eighth, though — it’s the Dusty-like continued preference for batting older players in more familiar slots higher in the order. Price did it all year long with Phillips until BP finally started heating up, and he’s now doing it with Cozart, who doesn’t look good at all right now.
    3. I realize Joey has been raking in the third hole, but the fact that the game ended last night with him in the on-deck circle speaks volumes.
    4. Starting Raffy Lopez and then summarily pinch-hitting for him when the game was suddenly within reach screamed of Dusty — like, “Oh yeah, we actually have a chance to win this thing. Maybe I should play the players who give us the best chance of doing that.” (Yes, I realize wins and losses don’t matter right now and that there’s a compelling argument that the latter are preferable. I still can’t cheer for them to lose, especially in person.)
    5. Having Suarez bunt to lead off the 9th after he launched the previous pitch he saw into the seats was my “final final straw,” and again, reeked of Dusty. I had moved within shouting distance of the dugout by this point and had to refrain myself from using every profanity in my vocabulary.

    One of my all-time favorite stories on this site was “The Dusty Ceiling.” I hate to say it, but I think The Price Ceiling is even lower — and at some point over the past few weeks, the team hit it. Walt gets a lot of criticism (and rightfully so), but he’s pulled a few rabbits out of his hat over the years. I hope he has one more trick up his sleeve, and that he finds a way to convince someone with no long-term managerial aspirations (Sweet Lou, maybe?) to take a one-year flyer to steer the ship in 2017.

    On the bright side, Suarez bunt aside, that 9th inning was something. I was sitting in line with the left-field foul line and felt my knees buckle as I watched Hamilton’s two near-hits slice left at the last second. (I’m convinced the first would have been the elusive inside-the-parker we’ve been waiting for for years.) Great AB, though. And I don’t care whether he’s SS or 2B, but Peraza should be in the lineup at least five games a week from here on out.

    Prior to that, I was sitting a few rows below Lorenzen’s large personal cheering section (most of whom wore shirts or jerseys with his old #50). It was fun to hear them get progressively excited in the 7th. The 8th wasn’t quite so fun, unfortunately, but Trout happens.

    Speaking of, these last two games were my first time to see him play for myself. The hype is justified. Fingers crossed that Finnegan can get him out more than once today.

    • How would a ” one year flyer”….with a 70 year old manager….be even remotely beneficial? Lou’s record in Tampa…with a young, developing team was one of the worst 3 year stretches in recent history. Young players do dumb things and that isn’t really Lou’s sweet spot( pun intended). That would be an unmitigated disaster. Lou, like Dusty, is a closer. Give them a team ready to win and they usually do.

      The objectives for this year were to figure out who can play, not ruin arms and see improvement. That has transpired. Next year will likely be about improvement. We shouldn’t allow a 3 month stretch of .500 baseball to think they’re ready to compete. This team is much better than they were a year ago…better than 4 months ago…but, they have a long way to go.

      Reasonable people can question and debate in game tactical decisions. Sometimes managers do dumb things…sometimes there is a broader motive ( seeing how certain guys perform in certain situations). Maybe Price isn’t a guy that can close the deal, but at this point it doesn’t matter.

      • Thanks for reading/responding. I wasn’t advocating Pinella specifically — I only mentioned him because he’s already in the organization and he’s clearly stated that he doesn’t want to be a manager. Again, I don’t think Price is the right person to continue leading the team down the rebuild path after this season.

        And Steve, sorry for flubbing the title of the post I referenced.

    • Not sure it is fair to blame Price for the catching situation. Nobody can catch every day. In the pregame radio Price pointed this out when asked about starting Lopez.

      Given Mesoraco’s medical situation from 2015, the org probably should have had another legit MLB backup catcher in camp this spring, a guy who would have been willing to be be paid near MLB money to be the defacto #3 at AAA, somebody like Navarro from several years back. Many teams do this every season even if they have a developing prospect moving through AAA (recall Corky all those years with then Reds)

      Once Meso went down again, they absolutely needed to have gone out and found a legit MLB back up to split time with Barnhart.

      • Lopez shouldn’t be a disaster for 1 game here and there. The Cubs were considering him as a potential MLB #2 as he had good plate discipline and was a passable receiver. Defensively, I’d grade him higher than Cabrera.

        It is correct thought that the Reds should have had somebody in the wings that could potentially provide MLB innings and that had some MLB experience. There were a couple of those guys still available on MiLB deals and there were a couple MiLB free-agents that probably could have been had too.

        • In thinking back, “the Reds had Jordan (Pacheco) for that” in so far as being an emergency catcher to help out with the catching load because of Meso coming off the 2015 surgery. However, when Meso went down for 2016, is when they absolutely needed to grab a legit backup catcher to help Barnhart out with the everyday load.

    • Watched Trout at GABP against the Reds and wow… just wow… and did I say “wow”? The guy is an amazing ballplayer.

  8. I actually think there is wisdom in starting the younger guys (Peraza in this case) low in the order even if the perception (or on a game to game basis) is that they are better option than player X (Cozart). I think that it takes pressure off the player and accelerates their acclimation into the big leagues. (Not to mention shows respect to the veteran, who in this case has earned it IMO.) Look at how much better Billy has been at the top of the order lately (and how he wanted to be there) than in the beginning. I think some players do change their approach depending on where in the lineup they hit, and young first timers really don’t need that. I don’t think it’s any secret that the Reds hope that Peraza can team up with Hamilton at the top of the lineup to create havoc/runs, and I trust Price to determine when the players are read to make that leap. I’m sure many will disagree, but I think Price has done an outstanding job this year.

  9. I love the article and the points it makes and then we add the provocative comments and it challenges me to rethink some things. I thought Cabrera was a lot better than he is and that just reinforces my low opinion of how this team is ran. I saw some comments 1 about Hamilton and the other about Lorenzen, both comments were about them wearing down or dropping off as the season wears on.(Same difference) 26 months ago Lorenzen was still playing college ball these young arms will need some seasoning. I think that it is a widely held opinion at the very least Hamilton was brought up a year early and more likely 2. I have been very happy to see some real improvement in his approach and results at the plate after a disaster of a season last year. The fact that Peraza is telling the world this spot is mine is a wonderful development. I still think that after getting off to a decent start in 17 and making some noise this team will fade some again next year but we will get a glimpse of what will be a very competitive team in 18.

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