2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds Win, On Pace for 108 Victories

 

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (2-1) 7 12 0
Philadelphia Phillies (1-2) 4 6 1
W: Reed (1-0) L: Morgan (0-1) S: Storen (1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Reds played baseball in the afternoon today. It was rainy and cold, but they won anyway and will probably win the World Series since they are now on pace to win 108 games and even the Cubs aren’t beating that.

Things that Were Good

Michael Lorenzen can hit and stuff, it seems. He had a pinch-hit homer to put the Reds in the lead.

Adam Duvall had his first homer of the year to give the Reds a bit of breathing room.

Everyone in the lineup except Turner reached base at least once. I always like when things like that happen. On most good teams, everyone contributes over the course of the season. So things like this make me hopeful.

The bullpen managed six innings of shutout relief work. That’s not bad at all, folks.

Things that Were Not Good

Rookie Davis had a rough debut. I mean, I can’t get too worked up about this because it was his first major league game and if he could have avoided pitching to Nava, he might have been okay. Still, rough time today.

Cody Reed walked four in two innings. He somehow avoided allowing a run, but that was luck. He needs to have better control if he’s really going to contribute.

Thoughts about Other Things with Varying Degrees of Randomness

The Reds have won two of their first three games, so they’re probably going to be fabulous all year long. Seriously, it’s not as though half of all major league teams win two of their first three or anything.

If the Reds pitchers have one issue this year, it’s going to be walks. I feel like someone needs to post a picture of the old walks will haunt graphic in the bullpen or something.

The Reds got six quality innings of relief pitching and didn’t use Iglesias, Lorenzen, or Robert Stephenson. You know, if you were wondering if the bullpen was going to be any better this year.

This is very much the kind of game the Reds lost badly last year. I realize there is a sentiment out there right now that this team is going to be terrible. I don’t think they will be. I think they’ll be okay. Not great or world champions or anything, but certainly okay.

59 thoughts on “Reds Win, On Pace for 108 Victories

  1. Very refreshing to see the bullpen put together those shut out innings.

    Any thoughts on why Stephenson was not used? I would have expected him to pitch today given than Rookie only made it through 3 innings and Stephenson might be considered the long relief man.

    • I wondered that too, and then thought of something… maybe they are pairing Davis/Reed (R/L) as 3rd starter and Garrett/Stephenson (L/R) as 4th, give everyone a chance to pitch 3-4 innings, and see who ends up as the cream of the crop? It may explain why we need the extra bullpen arm. It will also help prevent rookies from hitting innings limits later.

    • Maybe Stephenson and Reed have pretty much the same roles and Reed got the call?

  2. Wondering why Stephenson hasn’t been used yet? I mean, his command looked better this spring but through 3 games so far, it looks like he’s pretty far back in the bullpen. I think he’s the only one not to be used yet.

    • Maybe they are saving Stephenson up to pair up with Garrett, just in case he has a rough debut too.

    • I think once the Reds tied the score 4-4, that Bryan Price in his mind boxed off 1 inning blocks for Cingrani, Wood, and Storen to pitch the 7th, 8th, and 9th innings. He had Stephenson in reserve for extra innings. Multiple innings if necessary.
      But yes, I would have thought Stephenson would have been used by now. There is tomorrow too with Garrett. If Garrett only goes 3-4 innings tomorrow I would bet much on Stephenson being the first in from the pen.

      • That makes as much sense as anything. TSERAMID said the same thing. There is also Arroyo’s start coming up as INDYREDMAN said.

        • Arroyo won’t require the help of the ‘pen. Complete game 3-hitter, 1 run allowed. Billy hits the game-winning inside the park dinger.

      • So who gets sent down when Arroyo comes on, Price is going to hampered if Lorenzen and Iglesias cannot pitch on back to back days and they drop from a 9 man bullpen to 8. Really great Reds did not waste a roster spot on Jennning now they have Stephenson fresh for tomorrow

  3. Got to love it on a day Lorenzen isn’t “available to pitch” he gets to PH and bombs one out. April baseball is wonderful … especially when you are winning.

    • I’m rooting for a successful trial of Lorenzen as 2 way player. If it works maybe Reds can evaluate Brendan McKay or Hunter Greene as 2-way prospects possible draft choices.

    • Is there a specific rule that Lorenzen and Iglesias cannot pitch on back to back days, I am pretty sure Chapman pitched on 4 consecutive days multiple times, or is Price specifically easing them into their relief roles

      • Early in the season, no reason to overuse them. They both pitched in both of the first 2 games, and both had a fairly high pitch count yesterday. I fully expect them to pitch 2 and even 3 days in a row at certain points in the season. Price did say that for the first couple weeks he wanted to ease Iglesias back in because of his spring training injuries as well.

      • I’m sure someone is good at finding the stats on that… but I’d be almost certain Chapman hardly ever got used like that. Maybe once a season, if you include an off day? Usually a guy doesn’t get used more than 3 days in a row.

        • I think you’re right about Chapman and recall that his effectiveness was a bit diminished on the third consecutive day, though because this is my memory speaking, that could be entirely false.

  4. How do we score so many runs when Zach Cozart and Adam Duval are the only hitters hitting over .231

    • Because batting average is fairly meaningless next to sequencing. Look at how many of the runs scored this year have been because of outs (sac flies and ground outs).

  5. David didn’t have any problem getting ahead in the count. Seemed like most of his day he didn’t get into trouble until he had 2 strikes. He needs a put away pitch or his pitch count will spell some quick outings.

  6. Jason,

    You might check out the food network next week. They’ll have some great recipes for crow per Adam Duvall:)

    • Jason isn’t the only one. A lot of us were wondering if he’s really an every day player in MLB. I personally thought he looked like a 4th OF and still wonder if he can maintain success. So far, so good as far as Duvall and how he’s playing. That crow may start simmering here sometime fairly soon.

    • I have also said that when Winker is ready, it will be Duvall, not Schebler, that loses a starting spot in the outfield. I don’t think 3 games will change my mind on that yet. Check back in on those two at the end of May, or at the All-Star break.

      • Nice problem to have. Duvall’s power is certainly real and his defense last year was obviously above average to very good, and really, close to excellent. That alone makes him a 1st division player to me. If he can maintain his increased BB rate over the 2nd half, then we have a very good, cost-effective left fielder for the next 3-4 years.

    • Interesting stat on Duvall if I saw it correctly: Hit more HRs on non-fastballs than any other last year. Had to reach down today to golf that slurve out. Strong.

    • Boy, this thing won’t die, will it? To my recollection, all Jason said was that players with Duvall’s history of walk vs.strikeout percentages rarely succeed in the long term. And on that basis, if a team was willing to pay heavily for him, the Reds should consider it. … If Duvall proves to be the exception, great for everybody.

      • I believe you are correct. I also agree with Jason’s central premise on Duvall.

        Without plate discipline, the best he can hope for is about an .800 OPS (.250/.300/.500 ish), which isn’t bad, but it’s not the kind of ceiling you pay largely for in a LFer.

        His defense, while good last year based on the numbers, is still too small a sample to say anything. Pretty much all “experts” agree that current defensive metrics need something like a 3 year sample size before they are even somewhat reliable.
        Obviously, good in 1 year is better than bad in 1 year, but he’s not a shoe-in to be the Brandon Phillips of LF.

    • I’m a Duvall fan, but I wouldn’t start pre-heating the oven just yet. 3 games so far. 3 games.

  7. As a Ted Williams disciple, it’s really tough to watch Peraza hit. First pitch, first at-bat, pitcher he’s never seen, pop out. It’s hard on the old ticker!

  8. With Garrett and Arroyo in the next two starts against a very good Cards team, we very well likely to see the full pen in St Louis.

    • Guess who has two thumbs and will be in Saint Louis this weekend for the games. This guy. 🙂

      • Nice. If you have any Redleg Nation swag and wear it, take a picture! Write a report for the site if you want, but picture regardless.

  9. Small Sample Size, but what the heck!

    Duvall, Suarez & Schebler all have a 27% SO%, which is too high, but not outlandishly high. Just from watching the 1st 3 games, I had the impression we were striking out at historically high levels. The good side of the high SO% is a 1.364 OPS for Duvall, a .364 OBP for Suarez and a 18% BB% for Schebler. Those are 3 key players with questions to answer regarding their performance expectations.

    Hamilton (.214 OBP & .548 OPS) and Peraza (.231 OBP & .462 OPS) are doing a pea poor job of setting the table. Hamilton’s weak effort at a hit in the 8th inning of today’s game was a disgrace. The shortstop could not quite reach the ball because he was pulled in playing a short IF position against Hamilton, but Cozart had to move back toward 2B because the ball was hit so softly. The left fielder was playing what amounted to a deep shortstop position, so Cozart had no chance to avoid the force out at 3B with the assist to the left fielder and it wasn’t even close. The heck with speed. Get some hitters at the top of the lineup that can get on base. The Reds have options now…use them!

    I was much less disturbed by Rookie’s HR’s than I was with Reed’s BB’s.

  10. Why even bother with a starting rotation when we don’t really even have one anyway. Just assume all pitchers are in the ‘pen then use them situationally. The only one you want to save for late or key innings is Iglesias, all others donwe really care if they pitch the first inning or another one? Eventually, someone will have a good enough outing to go 7-9 innings. On a long enough timeline, many pitchers would do it. This is only partly facetious (assuming one can actually be partly facetious).

    • I’m constantly intrigued at this idea. Developing it further: doing it long term would presumably suppress perceived market value for your starter types, and increase value of your bullpen types, making starters and their agents mad, and relievers and their agents happy. Whether or not it would permit you to ever re-sign your home grown starter types is interesting to ponder. I suspect not (so long as you’re the only team doing it).

      The ramifications are enormous.

      • One ramification would be workload management. Not a how-stopping ramification, but an issue, because there’d presumably be a tendency for all of the pitchers to throw at closer to maximum effort than they would as defined starters.

        • Well said! If one goal of moving to such a plan would be to preserve the health of your arm talent, and then they go out and throw 100% instead of 95% because of the reduction work load, do you actually change their injury risk at all? I’m not sure.

  11. Lorenzen, Stephenson, and Reed all in the bullpen is interesting. If you had to choose only one to be a starter and had to leave the other two in the bullpen, who do you choose?

    Give me Lorenzen who has shown signs in his first two appearances that he worked on breaking pitches in the off season. He threw four curveballs on Opening Day and five sliders yesterday, and they looked much better than in the past. Cutter is nasty. Plus, dude can hit a little.

    • Agree that in this “bullpen only” scenario, you’d have Lorenzen get the ball in the first inning often. If DiSclafani comes back, I’d say the same about him. Aroyo, maybe, but given his age, probably just have him come in during later innings. But without being able to run out Cueto, Latos, Homer, (younger) Arroyo, Leake in succession, it’s hard to make sense of just assuming all pitchers are available assuming their arms can handle it. (How that group didn’t win at least one playoff series, I’ll never really know).

      • And yes, I recognize I didn’t really answer your question. Then again, I guess my point is that I’m just not sure it’s worth taking any pitcher we have right now and saying, this select group is going to pitch every 5 days with the purpose of going past the 5th inning and the others will come in either when the first group tanks or just begins to fade.

        • True. And I’m having a good time watching the rotation sort out. Great thing is, the Reds would probably be 0-3 right now with last years pen. Blake Wood annoyed me more often than not last year with his inconsistency in the strike zone. But my God, he was awesome today. The first two batters he faced had some ugly swings. Welch was analyzing Wood’s delivery and opined that hitters don’t seem to see the ball well against him. Hell, it’s hard enough when it’s 98.

    • It is water under the bridge now; but, if Lorenzen is not a starting pitcher, he should have been a position guy just like the entire world except the Reds had him tagged coming out of college.

      It is interesting to me that he was totally compliant with the pitching plan as long as he was on line to be a starter; but, now he is obviously itching to get back on the field as a position player. He said again today that if he could be a “two way player” in college there was no reason he couldn’t also do it now.

      From what I’ve read of Lorenzen’s college days, he is probably the 2nd best CF on the Reds right now even with the several years of rust. Williams likes to talk about thinking out the box. He should discuss giving Lorenzen an occasional OF start with Price.

    • Right now, Lorensen. But we don’t know enough yet about Stephenson and Reed (or Lorenzen, for that matter).

    • Agree. Lorenzen. He’s the only one that seem to have the ability not to spawn a 5k charity walk every time he takes the bump.

  12. Wasn’t Reed’s outing today kind of the opposite of how last year went for him? Seemed like last year he had mostly bad luck, with his peripheral numbers all much better than the actual results. Meanwhile, you can’t pitch much worse then 4 walks in 2 innings, yet no runs given up.

  13. The Old Cossack just speed dialed DW’s cell phone by mistake. I didn’t really have anything tio discuss with him today, but I did listen to the VRU message he updated recently…

    “You’ve reached Dick Williams, President and General Manager of the Cincinnati Reds. If you have a seious inquiry regarding the current roster or prospects of the Cincinnati Reds, please press 1 and you will be immediately directed to an Assistant General Manager for preliminary discussions. Please be advised that any prior discussions from spring training regarding the availability of Zack Cozart are null and void. In an effort at open and honest communication and full disclosure, please be advised that the asking price concerning the availability of Zack Cozart is increasing on a daily basis. For any casual, non-serious inquiries, please press 2 and you will be immediately directed to Walt Jocketty’s answering machine.”

  14. Small Sample Size, but what the heck…

    After completion of the season opening series, there are 3 players with a 27% SO% (Duvall, Suarez & Schebler) A 27% SO% is certainly too high but not outlandishly high. After watching the first 3 games, I really thought the results would be much worse.

    The good news is that Duvall has a 1.364 OPS and ranks 6th among NL qualifiers. Suarez also sports a .364 OBP and Schebler has an 18% BB% to mitigate the high SO%.

    After watching Hamilton’s weak attempt at a hit in the 8th inning of yesterday’s game, I lost all patience with the Price’s emphasis on speed over on-base skills at the top of the lineup. With runners on 1B (Kivlehan) & 2B (Cozart) and 1 out, Hamilton hit a weak line drive (classified as a line drive only because it didn’t start bouncing until it had passed the infield) that barely eluded the reach of the drawn-in shortstop. Unfortunately, Cozart had to move back toward 2B to avoid being doubled off if the shortstop was able to reach the weakly hit ball. Then the left fielder, playing what amounted to a deep shortstop position, picked up the dribbling ‘line drive’ and easily threw to 3B for the force out of Cozart. We occasionally see such a play at 1B on screaming line drives hit to the rightfielder with a slow runner being thrown out at 1B by the right fielder, but not a runner forced out on a weak hit to the outfield. Hamilton gets no respect from the defense and represents an offensive liability.

    Then I pulled up the Bats box score from their opener last night and found Winker hitting in the #5 hole. Of course he managed two walks in the effort, but scored no runs. In fact the only run scored among the top 8 hitters in the lineup was on a HR by Elizalde hitting in the #3 hole. Might have been nice having those walks in front of the hits (5 among the first 3 hitters) and HR rather than behind the hits and HR. One game doesn’t provide much indication of a trend or philosophy, but this is a continuation of DeShields roster management form prior seasons.

    • I’ve been calling for Hamilton to bat 9th since the 2015 season but they’re bound and determined to have him at leadoff. He did have a big second getting on base but Peraza can do a lot of the same things and is a much better hitter. How much could Schebler or Suarez improve by hitting 2nd before Votto?

      • My opinion is that Hamilton shouldn’t be a starter at all. He’s fast and that’s about it. I get that his speed sells a lot of tickets, but not as many as the broadway Hamilton. Another thing that sells tickets is a winning team, and having a CF that does more to help the team win (even if his name is Aaron Burr), would do that. If I were the batting coach, I’d tell him to swing at only hanging stuff in the middle of the plate, otherwise put on as much body armor as he can and try to either walk or get himself plunked each time up. When he’s on base he’s a lethal weapon.

        Sorry for the awful 18th century references.

Comments are closed.