Titanic Struggle Recap

Recap: LOL, Cardinals

When last we met in a 2016 recap, it was September 28. The Reds had defeated the St. Louis Cardinals 2-1, making it twice the Reds had prevailed over the Cardinals in the final week of the season. Sadly, St. Louis missed the postseason by one game.

The more things change, the more the Reds are beating the Cardinals.

Today, Bryan Price’s squad won the series rubber match in a decisive manner, with hitting, pitching and fielding. That’s in contrast to the St. Louis Cardinals who did none of those things. The Reds shut out the Cardinals twice in the series.

Cincinnati Reds 8  St. Louis Cardinals 0 || MLB || FG || Statcast

[Click team name for FanGraphs Team page with updated player stats; MLB = MLB box score; FG = FanGraphs play log; Statcast = Baseball Savant Statcast data]

Scott Feldman (34) turned in an excellent start, with 6 strikeouts and 1 walk in 6 innings.

Blake Wood made his third appearance of the season, entering the game in the 7th, with two runners on and no outs. He induced two ground balls to third base and the inning was over. He also pitched the 8th inning, giving up a hit and striking out one. Tony Cingrani pitched the 9th giving up a single and striking out two.

Adam Duvall was the offensive player of the game, with his second home run of the season, two other singles and a walk. Jeff Brantley talked of Duvall’s “easy power” and how the ball “shot out of here.”

The Reds put the game away – or maybe that should be the Cardinals put the game away – in the sixth inning when the good guys scored four runs on three St. Louis errors.

Stuart Turner, the Rule 5 catcher acquired from the Twins, made another outstanding defensive play, fielding a bunt and throwing out Randal Grichuk at third base who had led off the third inning with a double.

Eugenio Suarez had two hits and a walk and started a rally-snuffing double killing with a great defensive play in the seventh. Brantley: “A one hop bullet right at Suarez and he made a phenomenal play.”

Joey Votto added a solo home run and his first walk of the season.

Speaking of walks, Jose Peraza has now gone 88 plate appearances without a walk, including the 67 in spring training. He’s hitting .238/.273/.238 with no extra base hits. That’s an ISO of .000. Peraza entered the game having swung at 47.6% of pitches out of the strike zone (5th worst in the majors) and 64.6% of all pitches (2nd highest in the majors). Concerning, but early.

According to Mark Sheldon, Devin Mesoraco will catch nine innings tomorrow, do that again the next day and the next. Then he’ll be cleared to return to the Reds.

102 thoughts on “Recap: LOL, Cardinals

  1. Reds take the first two series! Next are the Bucs. Finnegan, Davis and Garrett. Duvall and Schebler doing their jobs. Winker red hot to begin the season. What to do? Good situation to gave. Keeping Cozart and resigning him an option? Suarez much improved at the hot corner. Turner looks solid. What to do when Mes is ready? Don’t send him back to the Twins. Go back to 12 pitchers and bench will be Barnhart, Turner, Gennett, Alcantara and Kivlehan. Reed, Stephenson or Davis down to Louisville.

  2. Sweet, sweet victory—on to Pittsburgh! Maybe Feldman isn’t Marquis/Gregg after all?

    Haven’t seen catcher defense like this from the Reds in a while. It’s nice—and not meant as a knock on Tucker.

  3. Great team win today.Feldman was really good and the offense continued to apply pressure on their defense and we end up with an 8-0 victory.Lots of good things happened and as I have said before I really like our roster.Short of the old guys starting on the mound its hard not to like this team.I like our chances if our starters can keep us in the game and we can get to our pen with the lead we can win some games.Iggy and Lorenzen made us really good on the back end in the second half last year and the rest of the group has stepped up this year.

  4. Peraza also has the 3rd highest Zone% (56.3%) in baseball.

    Not defending him because he’s been pretty atrocious, but you can’t walk if the pitchers don’t throw many balls, unless you are supremely disciplined, which Peraza is not.

  5. Here’s an idea: Instead of assuming Peraza/Herrera are the future up the middle, why not put Suarez back at SS and open up 3B for Senzel? Then let Herrera/Peraza duke it out for the 2B job.

      • Anyone else got an opinion on this??? I got the impression Suarez got to a lot but booted routine balls and made poor throws. It seems he did that at 3b last year as well, I seem to recall some Reds in the past 20 years got off to some terrible startsfielding and ended up winning gold gloes

      • I’ve said the same thing about his play at shortstop, but am thinking that he has turned into a very serviceable third-baseman. It may well be that he could, after a period of adjustment, become a decent shortstop. Something will have to happen when Senzel arrives, and I’d hope that it wouldn’t involve Suarez not starting for the Reds. He hits the ball hard.

    • I don’t think anyone assumes they will be, but Peraza is the first guy here being given a shot, and if Herrera’s shoulder holds up, he’ll be the next guy given a shot.

      Once Senzel is ready, he’ll get his shot for sure.

      • Dreaming of:

        CF Friedl
        LF Winker
        1B Votto
        3B Senzel
        RF Schebler/Duvall
        SS Suarez
        2B Herrera
        C Mesoraco/Barnhart

        • I doubt TJ Friedl and Devin Mesoraco will ever play for the same Reds team. Okey (and to a lesser extent, Stephenson) is the future at Catcher.

          • Friedl could very well arrive the end of next year if he keeps hitting. I was surprised he didn’t begin the season at A+. I expect him to end this year at AA if all goes well.

          • Maybe. There were people who thought Jesse Winker was a sure thing to be in the 2015 lineup at some point. I’m definitely a pessimist when it comes to prospect arrival times, but I suppose it is possible.

        • Friedl at center huh? So what happens to Hamilton, I guess he just evaporates into thin air right. Not sure why you left him out of the mix but I think I have a good idea.

          • Billy hasn’t got it done at the plate the last 4 years and Friedl is the best hope on the horizon for a CF who could get it done. Maybe this is the year Billy pulls it all together, but I’m not holding my breath.

  6. Love watching this team come together. 40-39 since the All Star Break last year! If the Starters can give them a quality start they will be fun to watch. They are 3-0 when they get an quality start compared to 1-2 when they don’t.

  7. I like how Price handled the 7th inning. Feldman gave up a walk to Carpenter after getting totally hosed on the 2-2 pitch. The next guy got a single and Price removed him. So many time before he would leave a pitcher in 1 batter too long.

    • Agreed … looked (on Gameday at least) like Feldman was getting squeezed pretty good by the ump. I’ll repeat my chant that it’s time for the robot strike zone.

      Blake Wood gets a huge tip of the hat for buckling down and, with help from Ey-U-Hey-Nee-O working out of the jam.

  8. It’s only six games into the season, but this bullpen (aside from Stephenson) is looking like the team’s strength, after being its worst nightmare all of last season. As for starting pitchers, Finnegan and Garrett have shown the ability to be dominant in their season debuts. Feldman has had one great start and one awful start. Davis showed potential in his debut. I will be okay with Arroyo if he can eat innings this season, even if he ends up with an ERA over 5, but if he cannot go deep into games, there is no point in him being with the team.

    Heard on the WLW broadcast that the Cardinals’ bullpen has now given up 6 homeruns in 6 games. Sounds a bit familiar…

  9. Lets not forget Stuart Turner’s first big league hit as well.

    I’m thinking we may be seeing the pattern for Feldman emerge. One good start, one dumpster fire. If he strings a couple of those together at the right time we might be able to flip him for something. If not, he might make a very good long man.

  10. Dilson Herrera has played 2B in 2 of the 4 games this season for the Bats. He didn’t play on opening day and played DH in the 3rd game. He’s has progressed with his shoulder issue to at least play some defense. The Reds may be taking the same cautious approach with his return to full time defense as they did with Mesoraco. That sounds like a solid approach for the best chance at good long term results.

    In the 3 games he’s played, Herrera has slashed .333/.375/.600 w/ 1-HR, 1-2B, 1-BB & 3-SO in 16 PA.

  11. And I notice Cozart continues to build up his value … I’ll be sad to see him go since I watched him locally in NC at AA ball, but we know somebody will need a SS before too long and I’d be happy to see Zack get his shot.

    • It would be difficult to believe that a MLB team values Cozart more because he’s had a nice 6 games.

      • But not difficult to believe that a MLB team values Cozart more after he’s demonstrated that he’s fully healthy and fully recovered from his devastating knee injury and surgery. Cozart had a 0.799 OPS during the 1st half of 2016 before wearing down in the 1st year after his surgery. This off season, Cozarts health was an issue, with the question of his 2nd half performance during 2016 being due to just physically wearing down or was the knee injury reaggravated and career thresatening. I think Cozart’s 1.034 OPS during spring training & 1.178 to start this season has answered the questions regarding his health and future prospects, not to mention that he jetisoned the knee brace this season and he’s stealing bases. I don’t believe anyone has quesations regarding Cozart’s health at this point. He’s hands-down the best SS available for anyone if the need arises.

        • Exactly Cossack … and I know it’s only been a few games. The point is that he appears fully healthy and ready to roll. That’s only a benefit to us one way or another.

        • His spring training stats ( often against non MLB players) and his performance over 6 games is utterly meaningless and proves nothing.

          I agree that he’s likely the best SS available on the trade market, but that would be the case if he were 0-2017 right now.

          Do you actually think ” GM X” is saying ” Get me Cozart. My God, what a week he’s had. He also really crushed the ball in spring training against that AA player who is coming off the heart lung transplant. Tell Dick Williams we’ll pay whatever is needed” ?

          • What I actually think is that GM X of a contending team with a need for a starting shortstop will say “Get me Cozart. He’s healthy and fully recovered from his knee injury and he’s the best shortstop available. In addition he’s got a bargain contract. DW will want a solid return, a very solid return, even for a one season rental, but we’ve got the need and DW has the biggest chip in the pot.”

          • Why resort to hyperbole Chuck? No one is suggesting that Cozart is going to bring back Addison Russell and Billy McKinney. He plays well, he removes any lingering doubt about his ability to contribute right now for a contender so that they don’t fall too far behind in the early going. The return will likely be modest but better than nothing.

          • Well, the hyperbole is funny. That’s a good reason. We’re mostly–I include myself but not Chuck–hard-put to not draw conclusions about these Reds after six games because they are fun to watch and have played well, mostly. Six games, though. Six games. Arroyo, in his first start in over two years, didn’t do well, and a number of us have taken that as confirmation that he is washed up. Feldman did poorly in his first start and followed it with a gem yesterday. We drew conclusions after the first start, and they were premature. Just as our revised conclusions after the second start are premature. We should know better, but it’s much more fun to be excited.

  12. The early results for the Reds catching prospects couldn’t be better…

    Chris Okey (A+ Daytona) is slashing .300/.462/.600 in 3 games w/ 1-3B, 1-2B, 3-BB & 3-SO in 12 PA.

    TyleR Stephenson (A Dayton) is producing even better, slashing .333/.500/.778 in 3 games w/ 1-HR, 1-2B, 3-BB & 3-SO in 12 PA.

    This could become another contest of young catching prospects similar to the Mesoraco/Grandal days, at least we can hope for such a situation to evolve.

  13. I probably haven’t read you enough Steve, but were you serious when you said “sadly, St. Louis missed the postseason by one game”? I just can’t bring myself to ever be sad about that, unless I was sad it wasn’t by more games. 🙂

  14. Jesse Winker is locked into the #5 hole for the Bats. You have to admire DeShields unwavering (aka stubborn) commitment to old school baseball.

    BTW…In 4 games for the Bats, Winker is slashing .500/.619/.643 w/ 2-2B, 6-BB & 2-SO in 20 PA. That’s a whopping .619 OBP and a pedestrian .143 ISO for the young Mr. Winker, a 30.0% BB% & a 10.0% SO%. We certainly wouldn’t want to see such a performance wasted at the top of the order!

      • I’m a little less forgiving. Shocker! 🙂 I assume all humans are not smart until they give me a reason to believe otherwise.

        At least 5th isn’t 7th. When I saw that a few times last year I almost punched my monitor.

    • Well, to be fair, a complete slug of a base runner usually hits lower than his bat would indicate in most lineups. V-Marts, Edgar Diaz, most AL DH’s, etc.

    • Besides, he’d probably clog the bases anyway…didn’t we learn ANYTHING from the genius of Dusty Baker?

      • We learned that the last time the Reds made the post season was under Dusty Baker. We also learned that the National’s also made the post season in his first year managing there after The “genius” Matt Williams won “manager of the year” and then was promptly fired. Some people in Cincinnati are so racist, you should appreciate the run you had under baker because before he was hired it had been years since they were in the playoffs and since he has left guess what. No playoffs.

  15. The minor league season is not even a week old, but when the early results are good, better and best, a little mention and ‘what if’ almost can’t be helped…

    The 2016 rule-4 draft could become an historically impressive event for the Reds. We are all aware of the absolutely dominant preformance by the #2 overall pick, Nick Senzel. last season. Senzel is off to a more pedestrian start (.737 OPS) at A+ Daytona this season. I mentioned earlier the great start (1.062 OPS) by Chris Okey at A+ Daytona. T.J.Friedl rounds out the trifecta with a 1.308 OPS at A Dayton through 3 games. All three of those young prospects could realistically be starting for the Reds in 2019.

    • Throw in the signings of the Cuban IFA’s in SP Vladimir Gutierrez and the SS Alfredo Rodriguez and 2016 was a fine year for adding talent.
      And 2017 has already started with the return from the Dan Straily trade, mainly Castillo.
      All 3 of these may be starting on that 2019 team too.

  16. Devin Mesoraco had the day off for the Blue Wahoos during his rehab assignment, but he caught 6 innings on Thursday and 7 innings on Saturday. Mesoraco has a 1.167 OPS in 2 games played w/ 1-HR, 0-BB & 1-SO in 6 PA. Apparently the HR was a typical Mesoraco shot into the Pensacola Bay!

    Mesoraco is scheduled to catch a full 9 innings in tomorrow night’s game with an off day scheduled on Tuesday. From that point, the next goal should be catching back-to-back games, possibly as early as night games on Wednesday and Thurday on the road against Biloxi. Irrespective, the back-to-back games should be some time during the 5 games series against Biloxi this week, unless there is an unexpected development after catching 9 full innings. We have all heard the double-speak and quasi-truths reported regarding injuries and rehabs, but Mesoraco’s recovery and rehab has been slow and deliberate, intentionally, and nothing has even remotely smelled of a setback along the way What a bonus mesioraco’s bat could be to the Reds lineup if he returns fully healthy and fully prepared in a week to 10 days.

  17. Hitting in the #3 through #8 holes in the Reds lineup:

    0.852 => Votto
    1.071 => Duvall
    1.040 => Suarez
    1.088 => Schebler
    1.178 => Cozart
    0.845 => Barnhart

    Hitting in the #1 & #2 holes in the Reds lineup:

    0.733 => Hamilton
    0.488 => Peraza

    It’s a no brainer. Let’s give the worst two hitters in the lineup the most opportunities to hit. After all, we’ve got to get them going, just ask Price…or Dusty.

    • They are fast and fast players have to bat at the top of the order

      If Peraza cannot take a BB, he has no business being near the top of the order

      • It does make some sense for a (normally) good hitter like Peraza, that can’t walk, to bat after some good OBP guys…and hope for a big uptick in RBIs since Peraza can put the bat on the ball even if trading out for a run.

        Hamilton, well, did anyone expect him to be good at getting on base? I don’t ever expect him to be anything but one of the 5 worst lead off hitters in MLB so long as he remains in lead off. If he loses even a bit of speed due to injury or age, he’ll be a fairly poor 8th hitter too.

      • Not to mention they play CF and 22nd base. Positional batting order gents. Dusty taught the class

  18. There’s some pretty impressive performances by starting pitchers at every level in the Reds system through the first 4 games.

    AAA Louisville
    Rob Wooten (age 31) 10-SO & 1-BB in 6.0 IP

    AA Pensacola
    Luis Castillo (age 24) 5-SO & 1-BB in 6.0 IP
    Tyler Mahle (age 22) 6-SO & 1-BB in 5.2 IP

    A+ Daytona
    Jose Lopez (age 23) 7-SO & 0-BB in 5.1 IP
    Jonathan Crawford (age 25) 6-SO & 3-BB in 4.2 IP

    A Dayton
    Ryan Olson (age 22) 9-SO & 0-BB in 7.0 IP
    Wennington Romero (age 19) 9-SO & 0-BB in 6.0 IP

  19. So what happens to Stuart Turner when Mez comes back? I think Turner needs to keep playing, regardless of his Rule 5 status. He’s a nice defender.

    • They may have to carry three for a while and just ride with one less reliever. It does seem that Price is more willing to let RPs go more than one inning, so that’s refreshing.

    • Turner is quick and has a laser-guided bazooka for an arm. He fell into DW’s lap due to the Twins roster crunch. How do you not take advantage of that situation and keep him on the 25-man roster this season to retain his rights for the future?

      • Seems like a high price to pay a backup catcher. This team will probably need the roster spot at some point, and it stinks to have a spot guaranteed to someone. I’d rather just bring up a Chad Wallach-type.

  20. When was the last time, the Reds threw 3 shut outs in the first 5 games of the season. What a lousy pitching staff we have!

  21. Now this is getting WAY ahead of ourselves and foolishly so, but the euphoria of a new baseball season and 1st place in the division can have that effect, so a hypothetical…

    August 1st rolls around and Zack Cozart is still playing shortstop for the Reds. A serious contender has their shortstop go down with a season-ending injury and place an immediate call to DW regarding Cozart’s availability. Cozart is hitting a cool 0.800 OPS and playing his characteristically, gold-glove-caliber defense at shortstop. The offer is good, very good, in multiple high-caliber prospects who are near major-league ready. The kicker…the Reds are leading the NLCD by one game ahead of the stupid Cubbies and the stupid Cubbies are leading the NL wildcard race by one game over several other teams. Should DW pull the trigger, knowing such a trade will leave a hole at shortstop that probably won’t be adequately filled during the 2017 season and will probably cost the Reds a shot at the 2017 playoffs?

    • No way you mess with the chemistry in your hypothetical dream. We’re one game ahead of the Cubs after 4 months of baseball….thats like dreaming of being on a desert island with 4 supermodels. You don’t trade anyone….not for Mike Trout or you’ll wake up:)

      Seriously though….things look pretty promising at the moment! Mesoraco will be back and Winker & Herrera are hitting! Mesoraco has a decent eye too….he could really help wear down their starter or hurt him with guys on base if he makes a mistake. Like always though…it always comes down to starting pitching to determine how fast the Reds are going to turn it around! I think Castillo, Reed, and Romano will play a big part at some point in filling out the rotation! Homer is a plus just like Mesoraco….great if he contributes but you can’t count on much at this point.

    • How about I sign Cozart for 4 years and $20 million, trade Peraza or Herrerra to that hypothetical contending team for the same or better prospect haul, and start thinking about where to hang the 2017 World Series Champion banner?

      • I highly doubt Cozart would accept such a small amount of money. Given that he and his agent probably project him at 1.5 WAR per season, he’ll want $12M per year. That’s the going rate on the free agent market, which Cozart is about to reach. No reason to throw away all that money.

        • Cozart is a funny case. It seems that most teams feel they’re pretty set at SS, which is why we assume we’ll only get fair value in a trade if a contending team has a SS get hurt in the middle of the season. If no one really needs a gold glove caliber SS with Cozart’s offensive profile, or the only teams who need such a player are rebuilding and don’t feel like paying $12 million/year, then he and his agent have no market. Or maybe no market except as a backup.

          So maybe he signs for set-for-life money on a team where he’ll get to start, and where he feels comfortable and senses that there may be a winning future. If he would, would you sign him? I think I would.

          • Personally, I wouldn’t. Aging middle-infielders without superlative offensive skills scare me. Or would scare me if I were an executive.

            I might be wrong, but I feel like there are probably a lot of glove-first middle infielders available in every team’s system. Some of them will learn to be almost average hitters like Cozart.

            I think this is one of those times where there isn’t a ton of upside and I’d rather save the money for a splashy FA signing once the Reds are competing, or for locking up young talent to early extensions once they show their mettle (perhaps Garrett, Finnegan, Senzel …those types of guys)

      • I really like Cozart, but he’s over 30 and has a serious injury history. That said, I’d be very surprised if Peraza or Herrera brought as much back in a trade as he would. They’re both untested and Herrera also has the shoulder issue.

  22. Wow. The first place Reds. Didn’t think that would have been said this year. And a series win in St Louis. And Votto being aggressive at the plate. Things have flipped around here, now I seem to be the only one showing Votto love.

    • Don’t worry Scotly, I’m still big on Votto. He doesn’t look quite Votto comfortable at the plate just yet, but I still expect a monster year. But what I’m loving is that even when he’s not locked in, he’s upped his game. Somehow he’s figured out how to be more productive when he’s off. Maybe it’s just a small sample size thing but to be struggling early and still have four extra base hits in six games is a great sign that he’s adjusted again. If and when he does lock it in he may be other worldly. In fact with the Reds playing well and none of the top three in the lineup producing as expected I see room for improvement even before Mesoraco returns or Winker arrives. And that’s pretty exciting.

      • Yep, SSS.

        There’s no real reason to draw conclusions from 6 games.

        If you want to draw any conclusions, the fact that he is striking out less than normal is usually a good thing.

        • He is striking out less because he is being aggressive and not running deep into the count where he ups the percentage to walk or strike out. Any Saber man worth his salt should know that. 🙂

          • I rarely agree with you on Votto but yes, he very well may be striking out less because he isn’t running deep counts.

  23. Somebody please explain: what’s the rush on Mesoraco? Catching a full game multiple days in a row is one “checkbox” for his rehab, but getting him lots of plate appearances should be important, too. Knock off the rust in the minors; give us a little more time with an extra pitcher until we see the starters–especially Davis and Arroyo–regularly go deeper into games; let Turner play a little more.

    Mesoraco hasn’t faced much live pitching in two years, or in spring training. He should take his time on getting used to hitting again, and then come back up to the Reds.

    • I’m with you 100% Eric. I want to saee Mesoraco back on the 25-man roster and mashing at the major league level when he is ready, not before. The first physical hurdle is managing to catch back-to-back 9 inning games with no issues or problems. Once that hurdle has been passed, Mesoraco must be baseball ready, with all the rust knocked off. He won’t be ready to hit major league pitching until he actually faces live major league pitching in game action, but he can have his timing and stroke ready to face major league pitching. Only then should we see Mesoraco wearing the wishbone C in GABP again. I look forward to that day and hope it is sooner rather than later.

  24. I keep reading about the improved pitching.

    The Reds gave up 18 runs in the first 6 games last year. They’ve given up 18 runs in the first 6 games this year.

    They were also fun to watch during the first week last year

    • Good reminder, though the caliber of players the Reds have this year are undoubtedly better than last. No Tim Mellville, Alfredo Simon, Ross Ohlendorf, Steve Delebar and so on and so forth. They are better than last, but we shouldn’t get too excited yet.

    • I will take the 2017 reds team over the 2016 team . The relief pitching alone is vastly improved. Arroyo is admittedly a question mark, but the rest of the starters look pretty good. Give Davis another couple of outings to see what he can do. It’s very early, but this team looks more promising.

      • Exactly….Arroyo is about the only old polished up turd they’re trying to pass off as a gem! Jocketty usually had 2-3 in the pitching staff and an entire bench of them.

    • Some of this is not-very-rational exuberance, Chuck, and some of it, at least for me, is that we have younger guys pitching and their stuff looks good, so it’s not unreasonable to hope for growth. And I guess they were fun to watch at this point last year. It’s always fun when they’re winning, particularly in April when the enthusiasm hasn’t been dulled.

  25. Yeah, the only thing that’s really improved is the back end of the bullpen. People were already tuned out when Lorenzen and Iglesias came back healthy late last season.
    People always put a ridiculous amount of emphasis on the first 10 games of the year.

    The 2016 team had some fun elements to it, they were basically power blasted away by the bullpen’s epic failure last year. Getting rid of some of the aging veterans does add a little excitement however.

    • If we had this start while finishing last year at 27-54 there is room to temper

      But since we were 40-41 to finish last year, this start is not a surprise. Seeing the hated cardinals get slapped down in st. Lo like we did is not normal. I hope it becomes the new norm. I can easily see 4-2 right now but I would have thought we would have swept the Phils and taken one vs the hated cardinals

      Let’s get in a fight now in Pitt.

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