The Cincinnati Reds and St. Louis Cardinals have played 18 baseball games this year. Even though the Reds are 24 games below .500, they have played the Cardinals tough, splitting the season series down the middle. This week, with crushing pressure bearing down on the Cardinals, the Reds have won two of three. The two teams meet for the final time tomorrow night. The Reds hang like the Sword of Damocles over the Cardinals postseason chances.

And I’ve got the feeling someone’s gonna be cuttin’ the thread.

Cincinnati Reds 2 • St. Louis Cardinals 1 | FanGraphs  | Oh, Rocky!

Anthony DeSclafani pitched six innings, striking out three and walking two. His two best pitches of the evening might have been to the last batter he faced. Against dangerous lefty Brandon Moss with runners at second and third, DeSclafani threw two sliders a few inches above the plate. Moss swung over the top of both.

Michael Lorenzen pitched the 7th inning and retired the side on 8 pitches including a strikeout. It’ll make a sizable chunk of Redleg Nation unhappy, but Lorenzen (ERA 2.83, SIERA 2.89) is going to close for the Reds next year. I’m telling you that right now, just to remove the suspense.

Raisel Iglesias pitched the 8th and worked around a walk, hit batter and wild pitch. On the latter, Ramon Cabrera showed “as bad a catching technique as I’ve ever seen.” (Marty Brennaman) Newsflash: Cabrera is a huge drop-off defensively from Tucker Barnhart. Iglesias stayed in to pitch the 9th and gave up a lead-off triple to Kolten Wong. But the Cuban pitcher followed that by retiring the next three batters safely, sealing the win.

Mike Leake jammed Adam Duvall in the top of the 3rd, but the Reds left fielder was able to power a bloop single into left field with two outs, driving in two runs. Duvall also added a triple and a couple of nice defensive plays. Leake (28) was traded to the San Francisco Giants for Duvall (28) and headliner Keury Mella (23) last summer at the trade deadline. Leake signed a 5-year, $80 million contract with the Cardinals. Duvall, who is earning $510,000 this year, won’t be eligible for arbitration until 2019 and free agency in 2o22. Duvall has out-earned Leake this year, based on WAR. And that doesn’t even take into consideration Leake’s disconcerting facial hair.

Jose Peraza had three singles. Peraza’s walk-rate remains microscopic and power barely visible. But he’s shown a good hit skill (AVG: .330) over 238 plate appearances this year. Tony Renda had two hits, subbing for Brandon Phillips. He and Peraza also turned a nice double play.

Jay Bruce hit a 2-run homer for the Mets tonight, his second in two nights. Bruce has hit three home runs in the past five games and has 32 on the season. The Mets lead for the first NL Wild Card slot.

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! 53 Comments

  1. We’re not really sorry.

  2. And I think Steve is absolutely correct about Lorenzen. I’ll continue to hope he gets a chance to start, though.

    • I am not buying it (Lorenzen). I think he will start. He wants to hit

      Closers don’t hit

      • Unless Steve you are saying he is our new center fielder and will come in to pitch the 9th

        He might go for that! 🙂

  3. Stealing a quote from the game thread from Vegas …
    A series the Cardinals had to have, now they’ll be lucky to halve.

  4. Aside from the Cubbies leading the way, the head to head competition among the other four NL Central teams tends to indicate there might not be as much difference from top to bottom among those four as their overall records seem to indicate.

    I’ll go so far as to suggest that the most significant difference among the four teams may be that two of the orgs were committed to winning as many games as they could in 2016 in hopes of making the playoffs while the other two were committed to hoping to contend in a couple or several years down the line and made moves (and “non-moves”) they knew would cost them wins in the short run. There is no value judgement intended in this statement; it is simply the way I see the things.

    I’m already looking forward to 2017. I’ll not be surprised at all if the Reds or Brewers finish ahead of Pirates or Cardinals or both.

    • I think the Pirates missed their window and unless they can reload with talent from the minors they may find themselves at the bottom of the Central soon, The Cardinals are the Cardinals and will find a way to win through thier deal with the devil. The Cubs are going to be good for awhile. Brewers and Reds are both big question marks

  5. Not sure why Lorenzen didn’t pitch the 8th. He had a quick effective 7th. Inglesias came in wild…really wild. But he righted the ship. Lorenzen seems to not use his body much to generate his speed…not sure what that means for his arm long term. Votto 0 for 4, swung on a 3-0 pitch in 9th with runners on 1st and 3rd…solid hit but fly out to left. Too bad..would have been nice for him to plate one or more there.

  6. I think Disco only threw 82 pitches tonight any chance they let him go Sunday for one more start?

  7. Steve, if you forecast Lorenzen as the closer next year then I assume you think the Reds will move Iglesias back to being a starter. If both Lorenzen and Iglesias are in the bullpen next year I would like to see them in a dual closer role where and they take turns with two inning stints.

  8. The action has ended on the left coast. Here are the draft standings after Wednesday’s games:

    102 Losses Twins (#1 clinched)
    93 Losses Rays
    92 Losses Dbacks, Braves
    91 Losses Reds A’s
    90 Losses Padres

    Everybody has 4 games remaining. Looks like the Reds may need that Tie Breaker just to make the top 5.

    Also the Cards dodged another bullet as the Giants lost at home to the Rockies; still they trail the Giants by a game and do not control their own destiny.

    • Cueto is listed as the starter for tomorrow night. Hopefully he will get a win to complement a Cardinals loss.

  9. I think barring Votto’s bad day at the plate, this game is how is supposed things to be next season. If club is able to assemble a strong rotation around Bailey and DeSclafani (perhaps Straily, Finnegan and one more from the young arms) plus a bullpen anchored by Iglesias and Lorenzen (five more arms are needed); then they should get at least 80 wins. GO REDS!

  10. Not making me unhappy at all by suggesting Lorenzen as next years Closer but Raisel Iglesias is my pick. Gives up a 9th inning leadoff triple to Wong then retires the next three. That’s the guy I want. I can tell you this: it sure as heck won’t be Cingrani!

  11. Nice, gritty game and pitching performances!

    I actually like both Lorenzon and Iggy in the bullpen–as multi-inning pitchers or as closing alternates. I know the value of a starter; but relief may be what they do best–and they apparently do it well. If a reliever is needed earlier in the game, that’s where Cingrani just throws hard for an inning. I will not be disappointed if that is how our bullpen shapes up.

    That leaves Homer (if healthy), DeSclafani, and Strailey (hey, proven success counts–sorry advanced stats purists who value him less) in 3 of the starting slots, with Finnegan a likely addition–and one of the youngsters emerging to complete the rotation.

    All this gives me hope!

    • Cingrani throws twenty 95 mph balls, striking out one, walking two and hitting one.

      • I would bet a couple of chocolate bars that Tony Cingrani will not be with the Reds next year.

        • He will be with them, unless in trade talks there is some other team that requires him to be in a specific trade with the Reds in order to finalize it. He’s lefthanded, so they’re not going to DFA or release him. They’re hoping he’ll somehow find consistent control, but I think we’ve seen who Cingrani is as a pitcher, and he’s not going to get a whole lot better.

    • I would only pitch Cingrani in blowouts when the difference is 7 runs or more either way. I can not imagine another team trading for Cingrani.

  12. There appears to be a definite disconnect between the front office, the new front office, and Price. Nothing demonstrates that disconnect more than Price’s bullpen usage. We heard the front office spell out in pretty specific terms that Lorenzen was going to pitch from the bullpen, but as a 120 inning reliever, in order to obtain maximum value. Price doesn’t get it. Eight pitches in 1 inning does not equate to a 120 inning reliever.

    I don’t think that Williams brings Price back as manager in 2017.

    • Do you think the disconnect is actually them continuing to stretch out Iglesias? It might be that the number one priority…(besides kicking the Cardinals asses to the curb) is to stretch out Iggy and see where we are on that score.
      Lorenzen only throwing 8 pitches leaves him available tonight I would think.
      Just a thought.
      I don’t think Williams brings back Price… but I think he should. Wes Jenkins article yesterday about alternatives made me shudder

      • There has been a disconnect between the Front Office and the Field Manager ever since Dusty ran the club (and probably before that). I hope that Dick Williams gets over the passive aggressive management style of Walt Jocketty and brings in a field manager that communicates with him.
        Anyone recall the problems between Jack McKeon and Jim Bowden?

        Walt has a lot of good qualities, and has made some dandy trades and other personnel moves (as well as some bad personnel moves). But he is, frankly, not a good management leader. He has allowed this situation to fester. It was, frankly, the same case in St, Louis between Walt and Tony LaRussa. It was not that obvious because of the Cardinals winning. LaRussa may or may not have been a great manager, but you have to work together, because IT’S YOUR JOB!

  13. Yes. If that is the list we have to choose from, then by all means sign Price up for another year. If with a little more talent, he surprises everyone and wins more than expected, then great. If not, then go out and find someone to lead the next great Reds team. Anyone think that they can steal Francona away from Cleveland?

    • I can’t imagine it. Francona just led the Indians to the AL Central title. I doubt that he is interested and even more seriously doubt that the Indians would let him go. I’m not sure how long he is signed for but they were not expected to win the Central this year so they exceeded expectations, or at least those of my friends who are fans of the Tribe and generally saw them finishing no better than third.

  14. I wonder if the Reds front office is even curious as to what Lorenzen looks like as a starter with his sinker and cutter. Those are completely new pitches he didn’t throw as a starter last year, and they may be his best pitches now. Impressive to think he learned two new pitches essentially in an offseason (he threw 10 cutters last year at the end of the season), and they are now pretty dominant. His straight fastball that got hammered last year is now his third pitch.

    Coupled with improved command, and I just can’t understand the harm in letting him try it.

    • I’m with you completely Nick. I also feel the same way about Iggy, for obviously different reasons. The 2017 season will another rebuilding season, hopefully the last rebuilding season before charging full go into competitiveness, so the focus should still be on finding answers and roles within the roster.

      I do not see that Lorenzen has physically eliminated starting as a viable option at all and with the enhance pitching repertoire, starting seems like a very viable option after his results from 2015.

      Iggy on the other hand may be physically limited from starting, but I don’t see the problem with giving him a final chance to strengthen and extend himself during the offseason to give it a final try before designating him to the bullpen.

      • Thank you, Cossack. I almost needed to read your comment because it’s exactly how I feel about both players. Maybe, just maybe, I’m not crazy.

      • The risk is greater with Iglesias than with Lorenzen for about 20 million still outstanding reasons 🙂

        With Lorenzen, presumably the worst case scenario is TJ surgery which has become an almost routine procedure from the actual surgery right on through the rehab and return.

        With Iggy, it is shoulder surgery which is still pretty much a roll of the dice as to return and effectiveness.

    • The knowledge the Reds presumably have which we don’t is Doc Kremchek’s full evaluation of Lorenzen’s elbow condition and prognosis. I think this is the driver for how Lorenzen is being used and subject to on going reevaluation will continue to be the driver.. The same holds true for Iglesias and his shoulder.

      • The two new pitches may well also at least in part be a response to the elbow issue as an attempt to move away the slider.

      • Maybe, but Zach Buchanan at the enquirer reported earlier this month that the Reds had no physical concerns about Lorenzen starting. Doesn’t seem to be an issue. And he started learning the cutter last season before the elbow injury.

  15. Not much to hang a hat on from the offensive production from last night’s game, but 3 hits from Peraza and 2 hits from Iribarren in the #1/#2 holes continues to impress, Peraza as a potential top-of-the-order hitter and Iribarren as a potential super-utility/pinch hitter option for 2017.

    I’m liking Iribarren in a Miguel Cairo role with more defensive flexibility. I think the 32-year-old Iribarren has something left in his bat to contribute at the major league level and a every bit as much, if not more, to contribute in the club house as the 36-year-old Cairo when he joined the Reds. I hope the Reds just don’t make the same mistake and overextend the contract for an aging utility player, but I wouldn’t mind a minimal, major-league contract for Iribarren. Of course the coming 40-man roster glut is going to make any major league contract an issue.

    • I’m wondering if a minor league contract with a spring training invite is in order for Iribarren. That might be with the understanding that unless he falls flat on his face or someone else completely outplays him, he is likely to be added to the team at the end of the spring training. I like what I’ve seen of him so far and he did win a batting title in AAA this year.

      • I don’t think the Reds control his contract after this season. If the Reds can swing another minor league contract under the circumstances you describe, I’m all for it, but with a AAA batting title and his performance at the major league level after his promotion, I have to think a contender might be willing to extend a major league contract offer to him for 2017. I would certainly get Miguel Cairo in the picture and make any Reds future employment interest after his playing days are over known to Iribarren.

        • I think you are probably correct that Iribarren is long since a vested minor league free agent.

          I don’t think anybody offers him an MLB contract ahead of the Rule 5 and thus burns a 40 man spot. Afterward it might take an MLB contract to land him.

          If he likes the situation with the Reds, he might take a minor league deal early with the Reds for the enough money and a spring training invite just to have the security of having 2017 settled.

        • I wasn’t thinking about how long he has been playing in the minors so he would be a free agent. With the batting title, he is likely to get someone to give him a contract. I would be ok if it is the Reds if the terms make sense. As OHIOJIMW says, before the Rule 5 draft no one is likely to use up a 40 man roster spot.

          People disagree on the value of intangibles but his experience, including not working as hard as he could/should have when he was young and possibly missing out on a solid major league career is something he has said he wants to educate young players about. To paraphrase what he said it comes down to: just because you have talent doesn’t mean you don’t have to constantly work to get better, because someone else is working harder and is going to pass you by.

    • Our man Duvall got the job done twice. Sure there is a fair amount of luck involved in fighting off a running fastball for a bloop hit; but, over the years, I’ve seen the Reds victimized enough in similar circumstances that I’m happy to say what goes around comes around. Then in the 8th, I thought that was a really outstanding AB. He ran the count, knew he was going to see a fastball, and put a serious hurt on it.

      All CF’s aren’t Billy Hamilton. Maybe from the position Grichuk got himself to he should have completed the play; but, that ball was stung well enough, I’m not sure how many guys even get that close to it.

      Put the ball in play and good things can and do happen.

      • I feel confident that if the Reds can find a 2 hitter for next year then Duvall will drive in a lot of runs again! Actually they’ll probably put Billy back at leadoff instead of batting him 9th where I would put him. The more I think about it….maybe a Schebler/Suarez platoon batting 2nd? Schebler loves to hook that ball to the right side and if they’re holding Peraza on then it could mean 2 men on base for Votto/Duval!! Suarez is also so good vs lefties…..they could bat him 2nd vs lefties and 6th vs righties. The bench could be vastly improved with Irabarren/Selsky too. What was their fascination w/Waldrop earlier? I don’t get our FO most of the time?

  16. I feel Lorenzen starts and Iggy returns to the pen based on what has happened with both.Lorenzen is one guy I have always thought could be a big time starter even before he added a couple of pitches.Iggy got his chance and physically he just didn’t hold up as a starter.If not we could add a couple of pieces to the pen either from within or through free agency to go along with these two guys we could really shorten a game provided our other guys stay healthy.I could go on and on but our pitching staff could be in the top 10 next year.The potential is there.

  17. I want to be clear on what I said about Michael Lorenzen. I’m saying I think the Reds will put him in the closer role, not that I agree with that. In our Q&A session on the Meet-Up day, the most stunning thing I heard was one of the Reds assistant GMs say that they saw Lorenzen as a bullpen guy. They didn’t really hedge that.

    Me putting 2+2 together is they wouldn’t say that about someone they thought would pitch the 7th or 8th inning. They see Lorenzen as a classic closer guy, mentality, stuff and now experience with relieving. Again, not saying I agree with that. I drool over his pitching just about every time he’s out there now. If he could be an effective starter, then wow.

    I think they’re planning on trying Iglesias back in the starter role and see if his shoulder will hold up. If it doesn’t they can put him in the bullpen and get more innings out of him pitching 2 at a time, and that’s not a closer thing.

    Goes without saying they may have medical information we may not know that is making that decision for them.

    Me, I’d for sure give Lorenzen a good, long look as a starter. His stuff has changed radically from when he last tried starting. His value as a starter would be so much greater, especially over several years. Seems obvious.

    • It is obvious! I think Lorenzen matched his 2015 season in induced double-plays in like 30 innings this year. His groundball rate is out of this world! He can hit and he’s super athletic. Look at the damage the Cubs pitchers and guys like Wainwright did with the bat and don’t tell me that doesn’t matter! If his improvement this year doesn’t translate or he loses too much velocity then move him back. Its a no-brainer!

    • I was very surprised by that comment at the Q&A as well Steve. I hope they have a change of heart and at least take a look at him as a starter in spring training.

  18. Watching disco.lorenzen and Iglesias pitch a 2-1 win over cards is a thing of beauty. Lorenzen has maturity and poise beyond his years but does not have a lot of innings mileage and never been a starter. Perhaps the reds see that and the need to have a bullpen anchor and cingrani ain’t it. I think lorenzen can do anything he sets his mind too though…love watching the guy. Iglesias is exciting. He’s still rough around the edges but loves to pitch and was clearly fired up to pitch. He was electric despite the triple. I watched the 9 th inning on Mlb network who cut to the reds game…..Pedro Martinez was gushing about Iglesias…velocity.arm angles and potential…. Both these guys can get better too. That’s a good story this year….both look like future all stars.

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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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