Titanic Struggle Recap

First place Reds walk past the Pirates

The first place Cincinnati Reds are now 5-2 to start 2017! The Reds hitters were able to force Pirates stater Tyler Glasnow, who is the #7 prospect in the MLB, out after just 1.2 innings. The Reds hitters had patient trips to the plate, and scored two runs courtesy of bases loaded walks. The Reds quickly took a 5-0 lead in the second inning when Adam Duvall drove in Hamilton and Peraza with a two out single.

Reds starter Brandon Finnegan looked good early, but ran into a wall in the third inning. He walked in a run, and it was quickly 5-1 with the tying run at the plate and zero outs. Reds skipper Bryan Price decided there was no way he was letting this game get away from him, and brought in Michael Lorenzen earlier than anyone could have anticipated.

Lorenzen got nine consecutive hitters out. Cody Reed then came in and got nine consecutive outs. Wily Peralta pitched a perfect ninth inning. The three pitchers combined to retire all 21 batters they faced, and secure a 7-1 win.

The Cubs and Dodgers are just getting underway because of a rain delay. A Cubs loss would put the Reds alone in first place in the NL Central.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (5-2) 7 8 0
Pittsburgh Pirates (3-3) 1 4 2
W: Michael Lorenzen (1-0) L: Glasnow (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread

Biggest Play of the Game

According to Fangraphs WPA statistic (winning percentage added), the most important play of the game was Adam Duvall’s 2-RBI single with 2 outs in the 2nd inning, giving the Reds a 5-0 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 9.9% (from 79.9% to 89.6%).

The next three biggest offensive plays of the game:

  • +9.1% – Suarez RBI walk in the 1st inning with 1 out (1-0 Reds)
  • -8.6% – Cervelli RBI walk in the 3rd inning with 0 outs (5-1 Reds)
  • +7.9% – Schebler RBI walk in the 1st inning with 1 out (2-0 Reds)

The three biggest outs of the game:

  • Lorenzen gets Bell to fly out w/ bases loaded, 1 out (5-1 Reds)
  • Lorenzen gets Frazier out on FC w/ bases loaded, 2 outs (5-1 Reds)
  • Lorenzen strikeout out LeBlanc to end the inning, stranding bases loaded (5-1 Reds)

Player of the Game

Michael Lorenzen: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 3 K, 1.00 FIP

Brandon Finnegan lost it in the third inning. Finnegan loaded the bases with no outs, and then walked in a run. All of a sudden™, the Reds lead was 5-1 and the tying run came to the plate. Bryan Price, more on him below, made the bold move to go to one of his best relievers right then and there. Lorenzen proceeded to get a weak fly out for out #1. He then got a weak ground ball that he fielded perfectly, and then got the runner out at the plate for out #2. He then struck out the pitcher to end the inning.

Lorenzen wasn’t done there. He proceed to pitch two more perfect innings, and stabilize a nice Reds advantage. How do you not love Lorenzen? He has no problem coming into the third inning, despite being one of the Reds top relievers. He begs Price to let him pinch-hit, and then obliges his manager with two home runs. Bryan Price even said in the postgame that Lorenzen told Mack Jenkins that he could finish the game tonight if Price needed him to.

I am going to say something crazy. I was on the fence most of last season with Lorenzen in the bullpen. Everyone here at RN has begged to let him start, and for good reason. I am now fully on board with Lorenzen in the bullpen IF Bryan Price is going to use Lorenzen the way he has shown. Tonight, Lorenzen got the three most important outs of the game, and got a total of 3 more outs than tonight’s starting pitcher, Brandon Finnegan. Lorenzen was not good as a starter when he got that chance in 2015. Sure, many pitchers aren’t in their first year, but he was really bad. Lorenzen has excelled as a reliever.

There has to come a point when you commit to some of your best arms being starters, and some being relievers. I believe the Reds can be competitive this year. You saw how valuable great relievers can be when they are used to their fullest potential in last years postseason. Lorenzen looks like he fits that mold completely.

Positives

Billy Hamilton went 3 for 5, and stole 2 bases. Don’t look now, but Hamilton is hitting .346/.357/.462. He also made an incredible catch look easy. Shocker.

Jose Peraza went 2 for 5 tonight. Tonight was one of the first times we have seen Hamilton and Peraza on base together. It very well could have played a hand in the Pirates starter struggling with his command.

Adam Duvall had a 2-RBI single, and also walked in the game. Duvall is hitting .333/.379/.630.

Eugenio Suarez hit his second home run of 2017, and it was an absolute bomb (one of the highest arcing homers you will ever see). Suarez also walked THREE times (once with the bases loaded)!

Scott Schebler had an RBI walk!

Cody Reed pitched three perfect innings tonight! 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 4 K. It is only a matter of time before he gets a start in 2017. Remember, there are innings limits for these young pitchers, so stay patient Nation!

You know things are going well for your team when Scooter Gennett has 2 home runs in the first week.

The Reds stole five bases tonight!

Negatives

Brandon Finnegan started out looking promising, but absolutely lost it in the third inning. He loaded the bases, and then walked in a run. A harsh reminder that there are growing pains with young pitchers. It does make it easier when your team wins through the growing pains.

The Reds let Wade LeBlanc dominate them after they chased Pirates starter Tyler Glasnow. LeBlanc only had to throw 64 pitches in 5.1 innings. The Reds had a great chance to make the Pirates burn through their bullpen in the first game of the series after their starter only lasted 1.2 innings.

Joey Votto went 0 for 4 (he did walk once). Votto is hitting .192/.250/.500 (that is still an above average .750 OPS, FWIW). I wouldn’t get too worried, Nation. He had a pretty decent year in 2016 after a slow start.

Not so random thoughts……….

Could you ever imagine Dusty Baker bringing in Jonathan Broxton in the third inning? That is basically what Bryan Price did tonight with Michael Lorenzen. Price wasn’t going to mess around with a 5-1 lead, and the tying run at the plate. He went to one of his best relievers, right then and there. Lorenzen got the three biggest outs of the game according to WPA (see above). That is terrific managing. It feels like Price is getting more and more confident with managing analytically, and it is a welcome sight to see (some of that could likely be credited to new GM Dick Williams). Price ended up not needing Raisel Iglesias or Drew Storen tonight. If he brought in a mediocre reliever in that spot like most managers would have, Price could have possibly ended up having to use all three (Lorenzen, Iglesias, and Storen).

The Reds have homered in all 7 games to begin 2017. According to the broadcast, the last time that happened was 1999.

I must say, I am having a lot fun watching the Cincinnati Reds. How about you?

Up Next:

Reds at Pirates
Tuesday, 7:05 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Rookie Davis (12.00 ERA, 11.00 FIP) vs Jameson Taillon (0.00 ERA, 2.57 FIP)

76 thoughts on “First place Reds walk past the Pirates

  1. Think I heard in the post-game that this is the first time in the modern era (since 1900) that the Reds bullpen has gone 7 innings without giving up a hit.

  2. That flare to shallow center was a great play for Billy too. I thought it was base hit and then there was Billy. I forgot for a minute who was playing center field.

  3. Bryan Price said a couple of interesting things in the post game show. He did say that first you need to have the talent in the bullpen, and also guys that were willing to buy into the idea about being used in the game wherever you were needed. He mentioned that Drew Storen was the only guy in the pen with experience pitching for a pennant contender.
    So young guys without big egos, willing to go in whenever they are asked.

    After the game and on field post game interview, Michael Lorenzen was standing by the box seats next to the dugout, signing autographs and posing with some kids for picture.

  4. I myself was pretty nervous in the 3rd, still shell-shocked from last season’s meltdowns. Did not help gameday slowed and I could not follow the game, The verdict is still out on Storen but I am sure it makes Price a bit more comfortable knowing he could use Iglesias for the 7th, 8th and use Storen in a save situation if it cam to that. I think Price might have been watching the playoffs last year and seen Roberts, Francona, and Maddon out manage their counterparts.

  5. The post game interview with Lorenzen was great; he is so poised and such a strong, positive personality for a young player. Very impressive, and flat out fun to watch.

  6. Good point about Leblanc dominating, Pirates had ran their bullpen out there a lot over the weekend and Reds could still put them in a serious disadvantage if they chase the starter early tomorrow. Good things that these are the negatives along with Votto merely having a .750 OPS

  7. Bryan Price sure was dumb when his go to option was Jumbo Ohlenhoover. Did he attend Jim Riggleman’s Managerial seminar at the Eastgate Holiday Inn?

    Is he now bringing “the fire” (whatever that means) or holding guys accountable? I could never figure out how one would hold bad players accountable.

    Maybe talent really does matter.

  8. I wonder how many Bryan Price haters have done a complete 180 bcuz of his managing tonight and/or the Reds hot start?

    • I think what he did tnite is awesome. It’s amazing how a manager can look bad when he has Ohlendork as his best reliever.

    • I don’t know about a 180. I’m no fan of Price, but I absolutely loved this bullpen management this game.

    • If anyone did a 180, they should do another 180 when they see Hamilton/Peraza 1/2 and see the 2nd best hitter against RHP batting 6th.

      Granted, I was flabbergasted that he didn’t let Finnegan implode. Baby steps.

      • even worse was when Hamilton/Peraza had an off night, and Price bat two terrible bench players one and two

  9. [i]Lorenzen started 21 games as a rookie in 2015 before going to the bullpen last season. He remains there for now, but he hopes not forever.

    “I will be back in the rotation one day,” Lorenzen said. “When that time comes, I will capitalize on that opportunity and I will take advantage of it and I’ll run with it and never look back.”[/i]

    Hmmmmm…….

    • In the post game interview, ,Price didn’t rule out Lorenzen eventually starting, although not this year so that may come about. I’m still disappointed he didn’t the opportunity this year but results like last night sure make me a lot more comfortable with the bullpen and thus the Reds’ chances of winning games when the starter isn’t up to par.

      • If Price continues to use Lorenzen in a long relief role in addition to closer/setup man, Lorenzen could easily rack up enough innings to transition into starting next season. The question would be, who would be around to preserve Lorenzen’s awesome starts besides Iggy? What’s the point of having a starter who gives up 1-2 runs every time out if your bullpen is just going to cough up 3 runs?

        There has to be a happy medium somewhere.

  10. At the end of the day the great news is how well the Reds are playing baseball. The bad news, Finnegan didn’t do well for my fantasy team. The worse news, Glasnow is also on my fantasy team!!!!

  11. Love what Lorenzen did tonight — (mostly unsurprisingly) exactly what he was supposed to do. The bigger joy for me was seeing Cody Reed look like a legitimate MLB pitcher for three consecutive innings. Hope his success continues.

  12. On Votto…this is the 3rd straight year that following a great 2nd half he has started off slow (only 7 games this year). So many check swings and weak toppers. He eventually snapped out of it previously. I hope he doesn’t take until June 1st this year.

    • It seems like Joey comes up with a new strategy every year so pitchers don’t exactly know how to pitch him…and it takes a while for it to pan out. This year seems like he’s coming out swinging at the first pitch more often (altho I’m sure he’s only swinging if he thinks he can do something with it). I believe I read he only has 2 strikes out so far, and only 2 missed swings. I’ll have to verify that through Gameday stats.

    • It is a weird start… on one hand, he’s got 4 XBHs. On the other hand, he’s got 1 single and 2 walks.

      If one of his grounders had found a hole, and if 1 of his fly balls had blooped in, we’d be seeing an .800 OPS instead of .750 and we’d be saying “I’m glad he’s starting decently this year!”

      I wouldn’t worry about Votto… he is swinging at EVERYTHING, which to me means he has a plan. Votto with a plan is a dangerous thing!

      • I think it’s entirely possible that he is trying to warn pitchers that he won’t automatically take the first pitch. Maybe he thought pitchers were getting too comfortable assuming they could quickly get ahead in the count. … Even if he falls behind in the count, he can still work the pitcher over. That 11- or 12-pitch plate appearance against the Cards the other day was a beauty, made the pitcher spend 1/10 of his available pitches for the day in one plate appearance.

  13. I personally love having Lorenzen as a bullpen ace. Good teams of today all have a strong bullpen. It is VERY refreshing to see that the Reds are trending in that direction.

    • A bullpen is important. Of course. The Reds’ ‘pen has been really good, for the most part, but as magnificent as Lorenzen, Iglesias et al may be, if the starters aren’t able to get to the 6th or 7th inning with some regularity, the bullpen will consist of a pile of worn-out arms in the corner of the dugout by July. SSS, of course, and I don’t draw conclusions based upon anybody’s first few starts, but this is a trend to keep in mind even if it tempers our elation.

  14. Now let’s hope the good young pitching becomes contagious with Rookie going today. Sometimes these things fuel each other. First Amir, then Cody.

    The offense has two tough tasks coming up against Taillon and Nova the next few games.

    • What I liked about Lorenzon as much as his results was how he looked pitching. He didn’t look like he was trying to throw the ball threw the backstop. He threw easy. The hitters could not lay off his slider. I have worried about Lorenzens longevity and potential arm problems. But when he can throw that easily and be that effective, that’s a very good sign.

      Oh, and loved seeing Reed pitch like that. THAT’S the Cody Reed we’ve been waiting for. Great to see.

  15. I’m fine with people preferring Lorenzen in the bullpen but to say he had a chance and failed is silly. With that logic, Cueto would have been in the pen after two bad years to start his career. Also, Lorenzen’s peripherals in 2015 were eerily similar to 2009 Homer Bailey, the year before Bailey became an effective starter.

    The reason to prefer Lorenzen in the bullpen is that you believe there are definitely five better starts long term and/or that his pitch profile is better suited for the pen. Last year, his breaking balls showed flashes but were questionable and thus, I think one could reasonably argue that he couldn’t make it through the lineup multiple times. That’s becoming harder to say with each slider and curve he drops on people.

    • Nick, I know you’ve been a long-time leader of the “Lorenzen should be a starter club.” I’m with you. I wouldn’t say that Lorenzen “failed” as a starter. He didn’t look good initially but he’s shown improvement in his arsenal of pitches each of the last 2 seasons now. And there’s been no questions about his durability that I’ve seen.

      The other thing can’t be overlooked in this discussion is that you cannot use Lorenzen like they did last night for very long. There is no way, no how, that he will be able to come in and throw multiple innings each week this season. Too many things have to go right to align your BP pitchers and keep them available. This is a once or twice a season scenario. They’re going to need him and Iggy to be available multiple times a week. And the other BP guys are going to have to be called upon to carry some of the load too. Especially with this young starting rotation.

      • Good point, MRRED, though, if he can start once a week, he can probably pitch 2 or 3 innings once a week. as you say, though, that reduces the effectiveness of the ‘pen. And what a waste. If he’s going to pitch once a week, he should start. Most likely, he’ll pitch several times a week, often for 1 inning, sometimes 2 or 3, and if the rotation is good and the Reds win, I’d be hard-put to argue. Doubt surrounds both conditions, though.

        • Green, I think the takeaway is that Lorenzen can certainly pitch in multiple inning appearances but the team is going to be limited in deciding when he can go or not. It’s early in the season, so no one has been used heavily yet. But I don’t think this pattern will hold in May, June or thereafter.

          I think Lorenzon has the skill and the will to be a starting pitcher and that’s the best use of him rather than playing bullpen roulette. Given the chance, he would supplant any of Davis, Reed, Stephenson or Finnegan in the rotation. And any of those guys would be useful pieces for the BP.

    • I was thinking the same thing, Nick. His breaking stuff is looking really good. I’m not too bothered by his being a multi-inning reliever, but if the 5 starters are less than formidable, I could get bothered.

  16. Good recap – but the box score link is to the wrong game (at least for me).

    Went to bed before the end, but was very happy to see Lorenzen pull out 3 strong innings. Then to have Reed do the same … wow!!

  17. It’s early, but the Reds are on fire! As long as they can go 2-1 in a series, they’ll be fine. Let’s hope Rookie has a better outing and those bats show up again today.

  18. After 7 games, the Reds are in 1st place (tied with the Cubbies) in the NLCD and a half game behind the Diamondbacks (what!?) for the best record in the NL.

    In the NL, Reds pitching ranks 1st in ERA (2.76), 3rd in WHIP (1.21), 4th in SO (70), 1st in CS% (66.7%)

    In the NL, Reds hitting ranks 4th in OPS (.804), 2ng in SLG (.483), 1st in HR (11), 2nd in SO (43), 4th in XBH (26)

  19. Finnegan did not look good early then suddenly lose it in the 3rd inning. Finnegan struggled from the outset and walked a tightrope every inning he pitched. Two runners on in the 1st inning with no outs. Bases loaded in the 2nd innings with no outs. Bases loaded in the 3rd inning with one run scored and no outs. Finnegan had 1 BB in the 1st innings, 2 BB in the 2nd inning & 2 BB in the 3rd inning. He did manage 2 SO in the 1st inning and 2 SO in the 2nd inning to work out of trouble, but he struggled the entire game.

    Finnegan’s pitches didn’t look horrendous, he was just missing with too many of them. The good takeaway for Finnegan was that he didn’t give in and grove any pitches just to get a strike. He continued to work the pitching zones around the edges of the plate. I’m looking forward to his next outing to see if he regains that slight edge he had in his first outing that he was missing in his most outing.

    • I thought the same, Cossack. Good velocity, decent movement, but the command was lacking from the get-go. And you’re right, he didn’t give in. He seems to have determination, and I think he’ll be fine. Chris Welch commented that Finnegan’s velocity was misleading because the measuring method has changed, which I’d heard. But I started thinking: Wood, Cingrani , Lorenzen and Iglesias all seem to be clocking velocities consistent with their velocities last year. What gives? Thoughts anyone?

      • I am much less concerned with the absolute velocity of his fastball than I am with the speed differential between his fastball and secondary pitches, along with the movement and location of all his pitches. That applies to the entire pitching staff. The Pitch F/X or Statcast system may produce different technical speeds, but should not impact the speed differentials, movement and location.

    • Heck, I’d be happy with 25/25 and .340! If he continues his defensive trend, that would probably make him a 3.0 WAR player. If he goes 30/35/.350, he’d probably be a 3.5-4.0 WAR player!

      • I said this before in another thread:

        Step 1: Trade Cozart
        Step 2: Move Suarez to SS
        Step 3: Bring up Senzel to play 3B
        Step 4: WIN!

        I’m really curious what the Reds can get for Cozart if he keeps going like this. Maybe they could get a bunch of young power arms to put in the bullpen so Lorenzen can move to the rotation.

      • The one criticism I have seen directed at Peraza, especially since he was named as the starting 2B, has been his ‘lack’ of arm strength to play SS. I don’t expect Peraza to ever win a gold glove at either SS or 2B, but that’s not due to any lack of arm strength. His throws last night certainly demonstrated more than enough arm to play SS on a regular basis. His defense should be more than adequate as a middle infielder. The question is home much upside his bat will provide. I tend to see Peraza’s future potential as 2.0 WAR with good defense at a critical defensive position and adequate offensive contributions.

        Suarez on the other hand has been impresive since he adapted and became comfortable with playing the hot corner last season. Let the youngster play and quit worrying about what to do when (if) Senzel forces the issue at 3B in the future. That’s a bridge that’s easy to cross if we get to it. With Suarez’ committment to the game and his performance, i don’t think we’ve seen his upside yet. I would like to see him move to the #3 hole behind Votto, but with 60%-70% of the lineup mashing the ball, it doesn’t make a lot of difference.

  20. Not concerned about Finny because he is what he is but will get better.WALKS KILL and when he throws good quality strikes like he did his first start then the results are what we saw.He is still learning.In regards to Price,he has some talent in the pen,which was much better the second half last year because of Iggy and Lorenzen.Now the pen is even better because the old group is gone and has been replaced by better arms.Last night’s performance was something special.Not only because of the 7 hitless innings but because it was done by young guys at the big league level which builds confidence.They could all struggle the next time out just like Finny did tonight but getting a taste of success goes so far in a player’s development.Let the young guys play and lest see what they have got.I will get off of my soap box and just say its great to win or lose with young players because some of them will get better.

  21. Important to note that while the Reds are 5-2, they have won two games where their starters have pitched extremely poorly (Davis and Finnegan). They lost two other games with poor starting pitching (Feldman on Opening Day and Arroyo).

    That’s four out of seven games with poor starting pitching. As good as the bullpen has been, they can’t win regularly without more effective outings from starters. It will start to wear the bullpen down. Still early, so we will see what happens, but if this is the starting pitching we get all year, we will go through some serious struggles.

    I’m fine with the struggles as long as they are growing pains from youngsters.

  22. I haven’t seen anyone mention this additional aspect of Lorenzen’s performance, but he was in COMPLETE control for the three innings he pitched. On the weak ground ball up the 1B line, Lorenzen actually hesitated just ever so briefly before fielding the ball and signaled to Barnhart that he was coming home with the throw for the force out. I do not recall ever seeing a pitcher take the time to signal his intention on such a play.

  23. Across the scroll on the bottom during the LAD/CHC game, I caught the tail end of something… it was something like “this is the first time since 1893 that both starters tossed 2 IP or less and both walked 5 batters or more.”

    We didn’t know we were watching history!

    • And weren’t both starters just 23? I think everyone is very understanding regarding the up and down performances by the young players, pitchers and position players, as long as they are playing, gaining experience, learning and giving the Reds the opportunity to make decisions regarding future expectations.

  24. Just have to mention Hamiltons double in St. Louis on Sunday. First, a single for anyone else. Then an easy dash home on Peraza’s single through the hole in right. And then a double steal by the two last night. Can’t wait for Votto to start driving those two in.

  25. I would hope that Price would consider Lorenzen as a candidate (along with Davis, Stephenson, & Reed) competing for 1 of the starting pitcher slots. I’d like to see him get to throw several inning stints & possibly work up to 5-6 innings. Lord know our current rotation will give the bullpen lots of opportunities.

  26. The Old Cossack was thrilled to see Price go to one of his shutdown relievers in such an early, high-leverage situation, but I will acknowledge some teeth-gnashing while anticipating another one inning performance by Lorenzen before being replaced. When Lorenzen came back out for his 2nd inning, I unclenched the jaw muscles ever so slightly and when Lorenzen came out for his 3rd inning, I finally exhaled and regained some normal coloring in my face. Mrs. Cossack also relaxed then,knowing I wasn’t likely to pass out. Then when Lorenzen went to the plate after pitching 3 innings, the Old Cossack started craning his neck to find a comfortable opening on the Bryan Price bandwagon. Lorenzen had pitched 3 innings and was already unavailable from the bullpen for the next 2 days. He had only thrown 32 pitches and was throwing easy and smooth, simply dominating the Bucos hitters. Maybe Price actually got it and had turned the corner regarding his bullpen management now that he had some bullets in his gun. Maybe, just maybe, we would see Lorenzen return for a 4th inning of work with plenty left in the tank. Alas, that did not happen, but at least Price used Lorenzen for 3 innings this time out. The same situation evolve with Reed after 3 innings and just 35 pitches. Reed was already unavailable for the next 2 days after working 3 innings, so why not a 4th inning to close out the game (and as an added benefit, pick up the save, for whatever that is worth)?

    I was glad to see another outstanding performance by Peralta, but why use another pitcher out of the bullpen when it wasn’t necessary and provided no benefit. If Lorenzen and Reed had not been so completely dominant and had such low pitch counts, I could understand needing/wanting to bring in another reliever to finish the game, but a 4th inning for either Lorenzen or Reed would not have limited their future availability beyond the 3 innings they had already pitched and the Reds bullpen could still be stressed by the short outings by the starters and Price may need every available inning from every available reliever before leaving Pittsburgh. That’s kind of a quibbling point in such a fabulous pitching performance by the bullpen, but it could preserve a victory in the upcoming games and every victory is important.

    While Price seemed to make some bullpen management decisions we have been waiting and hoping to see, I’m not convinced he fully on board to managing the bullpen without a designated closer, get the closer a save, role.

    • Cossack, they seem very concerned with Reed’s confidence level. So I think it’s perfectly fine they didn’t send him back out for a 4th inning; take your three dominant innings, remember that feeling, and get ready to start next time out. As for Lorenzen, he’s not stretched out to be a starter and we want him available sometime in the next 3-4 days, so taking him out also made sense IMHO.

  27. One more thing I haven’t seen mentioned. Peraza was solid at SS last night. Made the routine plays and made the difficult one in the hole with men on base.

    • Ah, you beat me by 15 minutes whie the Old Cossack finished brewing another pot of coffee. Peraza did look solid at SS. I’m very comfortable with Peraza at SS now or in the furture, as long as the Reds can get their offense elsewhere in the lineup. I just don’t see his role as a top of the order hitter, despite his speed.

      • Cozart had a wrist issue. No one seemed concerned (at least publicly), but a day off seemed a good idea.

  28. One of the best starting prospects in the game couldn’t get the ball over the plate, and didn’t last two innings. Meanwhile, the young guy who had 30 starts for us last year and threw a 1 hit/no walk gem last time out couldn’t hold it together and forced his manager to bring in one of his best relievers in the 3rd inning.

    We need to be a little patient with Stephenson and Reed (and Finnegan!). Lorenzen’s poor results in his brief time as a starter should have no bearing on whether he gets another shot; if he can physically handle being a starting pitcher then he should get another chance. I hope Davis has a great outing tonight, but stuff-wise I’d rather see Stephenson given the chance to screw up like Davis did last time and Glasnow and Finnegan did last night. As last night showed, even very talented pitchers can lose track of the strike zone; we shouldn’t be too quick to give up on young starters with good stuff.

    • I think Stephenson and Reed will have ample opportunities to start this season. There are just too many pitchers with inning limits this season and too many young pitchers who will undoubtedly struggle at some point and make a trip back to AAA to get things worked out getting a taste of the bigs. Then there is the Feldman/Arroyo factors. I think the Reds will give both Feldman and Arroyo ample opportunity to produce during the 1st half of the season. If either pitcher proves capable this season, then they will be flipped at the 1st reasonable offer. If neither pitcher cuts it, they will be replaced with a young arm. I don’t see DW having the misplaced devotion to a cheap FA signing that his predecessor had, at least I hope not.

      • I’d just like to see them, at some point soon, say to Stephenson “you’re starting for the Reds for the next three months.” Give him something like Finnegan had/has: certainty that he’s going to get the ball at the big league level every fifth day. Some days will be like his first relief experience/Finnegan’s struggle yesterday. Some days will hopefully be like Finnegan’s start against Philadelphia. He may be a head case, but he’s got some tools and he still hasn’t had the chance a lot of our other young starters are getting. Before they cut bait or consign him to the bullpen, I hope he gets that chance.

        • I agree with you about Stephenson up to a point. His situation isn’t really comparable to Finnegan’s, because he has been struggling consistently with his command for awhile and hasn’t had much if any respite from that at the MLB level. This has to be demoralizing, particularly for a young guy who was supposed to be the second coming of Jim Maloney. I certainly wouldn’t give up on him, and I would certainly give him opportunities to start, but I wouldn’t keep sending him out if he keeps getting thrashed. He may be on his way to feeling that he can’t succeed: If he goes the rest of that way, he won’t succeed.

          • At no point this year or last has he been given a chance to start consistently. A spot start here, a compete for the rotation moment there. I get that he could have done better at AAA, and maybe they’ve been trying a kind of “tough love” on him, but I’d like to see what he’d do if he knew he’d be in the big league rotation for a while. Right now he probably feels like his future is riding on every outing–even relief outings, after not pitching for a week.

          • Stephenson’s situation is comparable to Finnegan’s. Finnegan was sporadic with his control, let alone command, last year. Even though his got somewhat better in the second half he still ended up with 4.4 BB/9 for the year. As for this year he has had one great start and one not so good one so it is still too early to say whether his control has improved from last year.

    • Great comment. People are giving up on Stephenson, and Reed before him, way too fast. Stephenson did manage to strike out 4 in 1 and 2/3 innings and it was his first appearance of the year so I’m sure some of the wildness was due to nerves. He was hitting 94-97 consistently and his breaking ball got a lot of swinging strikes. He was only one pitch away from getting out of that inning with minimal damage. Young pitchers with above average stuff often to need to work on their control as we also saw with Finnegan and Glasnow.

  29. No idea how long it will last, but it is wonderful to turn on a Reds game and feel that the team can legitimately compete with anyone. Last year, when any pitcher other than Finnegan or Straily started, I knew the odds for victory were long. Same when the gates to the bullpen opened.

    The strikeout rate seems way down for the position players as a whole.

    I’m looking forward to Rookie Davis tonight, to see if he can come back strong like Feldman did in his second start.

  30. The resolution of the BP situation and having Peraza in the starting lineup has jolted the Reds offense where they are getting runners in instead of being left in scoring position. Price seems to be maturing as a manager and he’s using his talent which resides in the area of pitching.

    • I think that Suarez, Duvall and Cozart have done a good deal more jolting than Peraza, but it’s good that he’s finally playing.

  31. Try this on for the size…

    Joey Votto currently has the highest swing rate at strikes (zSwing%) in all of MLB at 90.2%. The guys after him are Avi Garcia, Danny Espinosa, Mark Trumbo, and Brandon Phillips.

    Votto’s swing rate at pitches out of the zone (oSwing%) is a respectable 28.1%. The difference between those two rates is a proxy for “eye” or “plate discipline.”

    Votto’s difference between those two numbers is also best in the bigs.

    We can say two things right now about Votto that are true:

    1) He is seeing the ball very, very well.

    2) He has decided to swing at nearly every pitch in the zone.

    Why he’s doing #2 remains to be seen.

    • That validates what I was seeing from Votto this season without the data to back it up. Thanks Patrick. There are very few websites my old, creaky computer can still access and even fewer of the good data sites. I really appreciate the meaningful data reiteration you (and others) provide.

      Votto is the only person who can really answer the question you pose, but a .318 ISO may have something to do with his process!

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