Titanic Struggle Recap

First place Reds blast the O’s

The Baltimore Orioles were the only team who didn’t make a trip to Cincinnati during the Barack Obama administration. In fact, the last time the Orioles came to Cincinnati, the year was 2005, and the Reds starting pitcher was Ramon Ortiz.

The Reds were far from hospitable to the Baltimore ballclub.

The Reds scratched across two runs in the first inning. Adam Duvall blew the game open in the second inning, with his first career grand slam. The Reds chased Orioles opening day starter Kevin Gausman after just 2.1 innings. Joey Votto welcomed the Baltimore bullpen to Cincinnati with a home run to the first batter they faced, and lead was 9-1.

It was fitting that Bronson Arroyo was on the mound against a team the Reds hadn’t seen in their ballpark in a long time. Arroyo had a pretty mediocre start, but earned his first win since 2014.

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (9-5) 9 11 0
Baltimore Orioles (8-4) 3 7 1
W: Arroyo (1-2) L: Gausman (1-1)
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 grand slam with 1 out in the second inning, giving the Reds a 6-1 lead. That play increased the Reds chances of winning by 17.4% (from 73.9% to 91.3%).

Player of the Game

Adam Duvall: 2 for 4, 1 HR, 5 RBI, 0.14 WPA

Duvall was 0 for 11 with just 1 walk in the Brewers series. He broke out of that tonight, including hitting his first career grand slam. Duvall later doubled on a ball that was hit much harder than his grand slam (106 MPH vs 92 MPH off the bat).

Positives

Billy Hamilton came into the night struggling (0 for 11 in the previous three games), but he had a big night tonight collecting a pair of hits, and swiping a bag.

Jose Peraza walked! It really happened! Peraza walked for the first time in 2017 in his 52nd plate appearance. Peraza also stole third base with 2 outs, which he would have got destroyed for had he got thrown out. It paid off as Peraza scored on an infield single.

Peraza vs Hamilton: both players now have six stole bases on the season, but Peraza is a perfect 6 for 6 in SB attempts. Hamilton is 6 of 7.

Joey Votto had two hits, including a 2-run home run in the third inning. Votto also had two walks, including a big one in the second inning. Votto fell behind 0-2, but battled back and drew a walk. The next batter, Adam Duvall hit a grand slam.

Zack Cozart‘s 10-game hitting streak to start the season was ended on Sunday, but he picked right back up tonight. Cozart had a hit, and a pair of walks. Cozart is now hitting a ridiculous .436/.511/.718 on the season.

Cody Reed pitched another perfect inning in relief. Reed has a cool 0.00 ERA in 8.0 IP. You have to think Reed’s time in the rotation is coming soon.

UPDATE: Bryan Price said postgame “our intentions are to start (Cody) Reed on Saturday.” Price said that the one inning pitched tonight was “tune-up.”

The rest of the Reds bullpen was nails again. Storen and Cingrani pitched perfect innings, and Wood pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. What a difference a year makes.

Negatives

Scott Schebler went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts. Schebler is now hitting .182/.280/.432. I am a big Schebler fan, but it is pretty clear the Reds aren’t afraid to call up Winker. It will be interesting to see how this develops.

Not so random thoughts…………..

Thom Brennaman was talking about Chris Davis in his first trip to the plate. Thom said that Davis is a big power hitter, who is not a high on-base guy and doesn’t walk much. Fact check: Davis has a 9.9% career BB% (13.2% last year). MLB average is 8.2%. Thom then quoted his .250 career batting average. Does Thom know that walks are not included in batting average? Serious question.

Eugenio Suarez was scratched tonight with a sore neck. It is not supposed to be serious. Suarez has a 1.145 OPS so far this year.

ICYMI, Starlin Marte was  suspended for 80 games for testing positive for a performance-enhancing substance. That’s a big blow for the Pirates, who will also now have to put defensive-liability Andrew McCutchen back in CF.

Up Next:

Orioles at Reds
Tuesday, 7:10 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Amir Garrett (1.42 ERA) vs Ubaldo Jimenez (10.38 ERA)

 

All photos are used courtesy of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Sam Greene, and are used by permission. All statistics are used courtesy of Fangraphs, Baseball-Reference, and ESPN Stats & Info.

80 thoughts on “First place Reds blast the O’s

  1. From the rehab front, Mesoraco caught complete games yesterday and today. He’s physically ready to play, but his bat is nowhere near ready. Mesoraco came into tonight’s game slashing .167/.286/.292 against AA pitching and went 0-2 w/ 2-HBP.

    The Reds are rolling, give him time on his rehab assignment to get his stroke together.

    At AAA, Winker was 1-4 w/ 1-2B with Schebler going 0-5 w/ 3-SO. Hmmmmmm…
    I’m with Nick, wondering how this might play out.

      • 5 singles isn’t too much to get excited about, in my humble opinion. Also, has struck out 5 times in 14 pa.

      • I’m really glad to see Kivlehan coming around. Maybe he makes a good platoon partner for Schebler in RF for now. It would give him more consistent appearances and still provide Schebler the vast majority of the starts in RF.

    • Mes needs to get his timing down again. I’d keep him down there for the full rehab time allowed. Of course the Reds have been saying publicly, and probably telling Mes privately that he just needs to prove he can catch back-to-back. He’s done that now, so maybe it becomes problematic for them to keep him down there.

      I don’t like that he got plunked twice.

    • It’s sad that “good Bronson” = 3ER & 5IP. That’s a big red flag. Time for him to become a coach.

      • I’m not sure that the Cowboy, for one, agrees with you: He noted several times that Arroyo had progressed significantly since his last start. You should expect some rust after two years of not pitching, and you shouldn’t expect it to magically disappear immediately. The Reds are short of starters who’ve shown current ability to pitch deep into games, so I don’t get the impatience with Arroyo.

  2. FWIW…the Bats OF:

    .314/.405/.400 => Jesse Winker
    .310/.370/.595 => Phillip Ervin
    .413/.440/.609 => Sebastion Elizalde

    SWEET!!!

    • Gotta promote one of them. Gabby Guererro (@ Pensacola) not too bad at .375/.400.479 & about ready for AAA.

      • This is Guerrero’s third season at AA and the first time he’s shown any success there. The 23 year old now has AA slash line of .239.276.376.652 876 PA. I’d be surpised if he gets promoted before late May at the earliest.

    • They are all off to great starts. I also wish that was the most common combination in the OF at Louisville, as it would guarantee that Ervin would be the regular CF, where I believe he would most help the Reds. But alas, DeShields is doing his best to get 26 year old Beau Amaral, .200/.293/.200/.493 into CF about three quarters of the games. Elizalde has actually spent the majority of his time at 1B/DH (1B-4, DH-3, RF-3, LF-2).

  3. You gotta like the pitching matchup tomorrow with Garrett facing Jimenez.

    Joey is beginning to look like Joey, oh my!!!

    If Hamilton and Peraza can just set the table consistently…Duvall might do something weird like hit a grand slam!

  4. I’m glad you looked up the Chris Davis thing… I sort of wrinkled my brow when I heard Thom say that. Seemed like something he was just making up!

  5. Glad this was a laugher for the good guys. I was watching CBJ just in case… Thankfully they survived to skate another day.
    Saw Reds left 10 on base. Funny how we look past such things when they don’t remotely need any of those potential runs.

    • What has happened to Bob in these playoffs? Dude was a brick wall during the regualr season. Although, to be fair, Pittsburgh is a tough team to stop from scoring no matter who you are.

      Keep the dream alive!

  6. McCutchen is bad in CF. Yet somehow he probably will win a gold glove and Billy will not again…

  7. With Arroyo it is progress. His first 2 starts were scaring me. I hope he can build on this start next time out and maybe get a quality start at least.

    As for Mesoroco I want them to take it slow with him.

    I feel that Reed should be given another shot at starting. If he blows it like last year then maybe he is better in the pen.

    • Any body else got a take on Arroyo, slight progress 5 runs in 6 innings, 3 runs in 5, hopefully they can start getting 3 runs in 7. Next start might be his last if he regresses.

    • He only progressed because the bar he set was SOOO LOW. The O’s hit a ton of atom balls, and I can count 3 HR’s that just missed the foul pole in left.

    • I think the first two starts you saw the results of not having pitch more than 10 innings in Spring training. You could tell he was still working on stuff. Now, his FB velocity is creeping up and the breaking balls are diving down. Good signs. Let’s not forget, he’s supposed to be the #5. I think the Reds are going to ride with him at least until Disco gets back.

  8. Good to see the ‘pen not give up a walk tonight! I know Tony has only pitched 3 and 2/3 innings, but he’s only walked one. That’s a marked improvement in BB/9 (granted it’s still very early). Glad to see the walk-the-first-batter-when-coming-out-of-the-bullpen routine not be as prevalent this year, because we all know walks will haunt.

    • hey lets not sell him short -its 4 and 2/3, outside of Friday night when you had 3 awful outings everyone has been solid to spectacular. Hopefully Storen keeps it up as creates options using Iglesias and Lorenzen

  9. Not only is Cody Reed pitching Saturday, but we are playing the Cubs! It should be a great game. I saw Reed pitch against the Cubs last June in his third start. It did not end well. I expect things will be different this time.

  10. The rest of the Reds bullpen was nails again. Storen and Cingrani pitched perfect innings, and Wood pitched a scoreless inning with two strikeouts. What a difference a year makes.

    What a difference, indeed. Makes you wonder how different the year could have gone last year if the Reds had had this bullpen all along.

  11. Before bringing Winker back up, give Gennett a start in RF tomorrow in place of Schebler . BHam, Peraza, JV, Duvall, Gennett, Suarez, Cozart, Barnhart, Garrett lineup tomorrow against the O’s. Maybe Schebler needs another trip to Louisville to find his bat, like he did last year. Love the outfield of Winker in LF, Ervin in CF and Elizalde in RF for the Bats. How about giving Schebler until the end of this month to figure it out and if he doesn’t, switch places with Winker. Renda starting to heat up and might make Alcantara expendable soon.

    • Schebler is off to a slow start and still has a decent OPS, give him some time a couple of 2-5 performances gets his BA to a solid ground, but no need to start him against LHP

  12. Thom Brennaman did have a tough call last night. Can’t remember the batter but he kept saying the count was 3 & 1 and that was even after a couple of foul balls. Beginning to think Schebler might be on borrowed time. Platoon maybe? He did blast out a nice F-bomb after striking out the 3rd time.

  13. It was encouraging to see Arroyo hitting 86 mph and 87 mph on his fastball. I don’t think he had done that until last night’s game.
    For him to be successful enough to be an “innings eater” and help the team until injured starters get back, he has to keep doing that to make his slower stuff more effective. Maybe he is just now getting back into pitching shape to throw fastballs like he used to.

  14. If you blinked, you may have missed it. We are just over half way through April.

    Joey Votto is slashing .235/.333/.529 for an .863 OPS. That’s certainly not Vottoesque or qualifying for a Silver Slugger/MVP award, but not too shabby for someone who is struggling big time very early in the season. Votto has an 11.7% BB% and 11.7 SO% for the season. In the past week Votto has 5-BB & just 2-SO.

    Now about those table setters…

    • They need to see more pitches

      Last night with Billy on 2nd, Peraza has a 3-1 count. Billy walks to 3rd but Peraza fouls off an inside pitchers pitch. He flies out on the next pitch.

      Had he taken that pitch, Billy would have scored on his fly ball and his batting average would not have gone down.

      Peraza has great bat control and great aggression at the plate. He is a guy like Votto (and now Cozart) who should not fear hitting with 2 strikes. He is a good hitter who gives terrible at bats at this point. Sit by Suarez on the bench and talk about your approach at the plate.

  15. For those saying that Bronson should be a coach. There is no way I see a 20 year MLB veteran riding minor league busses as a pitching coach. Bronson has repeatedly said that when he’s done pitching, He’s done with baseball and that he’ll spend his remaining time on Earth and considerable wealth helping his friends achieve their bucket lists. Kinda cool but a loss for the Reds.

  16. A fun game. I’m fine with Arroyo’s night. He had a huge lead so the bomb to Jones was harmless. Don’t overlook the context of a veteran pitching with the lead. Nice night for the offense. Hamilton and Peraza setting the table? Check. Duvall and Votto driving them in? Check. Contributions from the rest of the order (sorry Schebler)? Check. Also, a perfectly serviceable outing from Arroyo? Excellent bullpen work? Check. Check. A fun game.

    Two Arroyo notes – first Reds starter to earn a win in his 40’s since the ’40’s. Most strikeouts in GABP history (passing Aaron Harang).

    Finally, the “Over” wins the bet on Peraza’s first walk in game 14. He’s on track for nearly a dozen walks on the season. Yikes.

  17. I like the move to send Romano back to AAA and bring up Bonilla. Bonilla has been starting for the Bats, but his potential at the major league level is almost certainly in the bullpen. Bonilla is playing in his age 27 season and has struggled early this season at AAA, but it’s time to find out if he can contribute from the major league bullpen. Now that Romano has had his cup of coffee, he should have a good idea what he’s facing the next time he takes the mound at the major league level and what he needs to work on to get there.

  18. Not so fast on Schebler please.He started really bad last year and was sent down and tore it up.He takes his walk and usually hits it hard.Lets be patient although Winker probably should be up here and spell guys from time to time.Bronson needs 88-90 to be effective and last night was ok but nothing to get excited about just yet.Remember he is taking a young guys starts which is ok only if the Reds have an innings limit.

  19. We have an All-Star caliber catcher returning to essentially be a backup for now, Winker and Herrera waiting in the wings, and two starting pitchers on the mend.

    That’s like 3 major trades adding pieces to a team that’s already showing a lot of potential. You have to like the direction this team is headed!

  20. The Nationals closer is in the dog house and Dusty is ready for a change. I wonder if they would be interested in getting Storen back.

    I’d hate to see him go, but there is an opportunity for both clubs here.

  21. To me, there is one and only one justification for giving Arroyo any starts — the front office has innings limits on several of the young pitchers, and giving him starts now will allow one or more of Reed, Stephenson or Romano to step into the rotation at some later point. There is no other justification for giving innings to a guy whose average velocity is somewhere in the low 80s during a year of sorting for the future. It’s nice for nostalgia, I guess. But for me, I have the feeling of “bombs away” for any Arroyo start now. Of course, when the offense scores nine runs, that will help greatly.

    • I completely agree! 3 runs in 5 = 5.40 era and that’s good Arroyo…lol. We won’t stay in contention long with Arroyo, Adleman, and Feldman in the rotation! If Feldman was the 5th starter then that could be another story! If Garrett, Reed, Bob Steve, Rookie, etc fall apart and have to be sent down then the organization learned something! They learn nothing otherwise!

  22. So is the 40 year old Bronson “Innings Eater” Arroyo topped out at about 80 pitches. He’s still throwing harder than the number pitches he can throw in a game apparently. In his 3 starts he threw 75, 80, and 82 pitches. That’s been good for 4, 6, and 5 IP in those three starts. So I suppose we give them the benefit of the doubt on the first start since those actually chose to start a 40 year old who wasn’t fully stretched out. But it’s a bit concerning to me that his pitch counts have not been increased a bit more over the next two starts. We are hurting for SP to cover innings, and if Bronson could throw 100 pitches, he could have gave us 3-4 more innings over his 3 starts. Is he capable of giving us more than 80 pitches? I was pretty shocked when they took him out last night and didn’t run him back out there for one more inning with a six run lead.

  23. Why not bring Winker up but leave Schebler here as well, and treat the outfield as a revolving 4 man thing, something like.

    LF: 5 days per week Duvall, 2 days per week Winker
    CF: 5 days per week Hamilton, 2 days per week Schebler
    RF: 4 days per week Schebler, 3 days per week Winker

    That gives everybody 5 to 6 days of playing time and 1-2 days as a productive bat off the bench.

    • I would not limit Duvall to 5 games per week, and play Schebler six times a week. Duvall should only come out when he needs a day off, probably twice a month instead of twice a week. Look at Duvall’s production both in 2016 and early 2017. Now look at Schebler’s production in 2016 and early 2017. I don’t understand the love for Schebler at all.

    • When Winkler comes up, he needs to play every day. He brings a skill to this offense that is only provided by one other member of the lineup and the offense is sorely in need of more of. OBP.

      To illustrate this need, below is Zips OBP projections for some key Reds players for 2017. Note league average OBP is about .320.

      Reds 2017 Zips OBP Projections

      Name OBP
      Joey Votto .421
      Jesse Winker .358
      Devin Mesoraco .318
      Tucker Barnhart .316
      Scott Schebler .314
      Eugenio Suarez .314
      Jose Peraza .312
      Scooter Gennett .311
      Dilson Herrera .311
      Tony Renda .309
      Billy Hamilton .304
      Zack Cozart .298
      Adam Duvall .297

      Bottom line is Winker is ready, he’s past the service time threshold, and the Reds are a worse offensive team without him.

      • Agreed. But unless they are willing to do some sort of super platoon between Duvall/Schebler/Winker, I’d rather Winker get every day PT in AAA. If Winker would only start 3x per week in the bigs, that’s probably a waste. 4x per week and I’d be on board.

  24. I’m surprised no one has brought up this simple fact about Schebler:

    Schebler’s BABIP is .161. His career BABIP is .296. Last season it was .312.

    So the takeway? He’s been extremely unlucky, but it would be foolish to give up on him so early. His BB% is 10% (career high) walk rate, his K% is 20% (lower than last year and his career average), and his ISO is .250 (which is fantastic). He has also improved his plate discipline, with an O-Swing% of 29% (career low) and a Z-Swing% of 84% (career high).

    He’s contributing, and all his numbers are trending in the right direction, it’s just the hits aren’t dropping. He’s hitting too many fly balls. Once he gets back to hitting more line drives, he’s going to be invaluable to the offense. I can see him doing a Jay Bruce impression and carrying the team for a month if they stick with him.

    • I don’t hate Schebler, and I think a comparison offensively to Bruce is feasible. But he does not have Bruce’s arm. Maybe Duvall should play right field, and Schebler left.

    • Schebler hit two balls last night – one down the right field line and one down the left field line – that were easily far enough for home runs but were just a bit foul. The one down the LF line was fair a long time.

      Anyone fixated on Schebler’s batting average is making a mistake.

    • Schebler’s walk rate is 10.0% which is fantastic. His isolated power (ISO) is .250, which is also tremendous. Batting average matters, but it’s really susceptible to luck over short periods of time. That’s what the BABIP shows. The skills that aren’t so dependent on luck – plate discipline and power – Schebler is doing really well.

      • Schebler has earned an opportunity for 400+ at bats. I am encouraged by what Phil Ervin has done in AAA in 40 some at bats. Should be an interesting and fun season to watch the outfield… Hamilton’s speed/defense and Duvall’s power are in the elites of MLB now. Winker looks to be an elite obp guy …Which we desperately need and Ervin has all sorts of potential. Schebler is a major league player though.

  25. Personally I think BABIP is an overrated stat….if Jay Bruce is running bad and tries to pull an outside pitch and grounds out 4-3 then that’s not bad luck! Cozart was popping up constantly a few years ago because his swing was flawed. That being said…Schebler drives the ball to left-center pretty well when he’s going good and might have the best bat speed on the team and he can take pitches as well! Its still early! Then can always put Winker in LF and move Duvall to RF.

    • Sometimes grounders turn into hits. For medium hit grounders, it’s around 22% of the time. For hard hit grounders that have a certain launch angle (not hit right into the ground, thus slowing them a lot), it’s actually almost 50% of the time.

      This is the point of BABIP. You could hit 100 line drives and if they all go right at someone, you have a .000 AVG. Are you a bad hitter? No. Just the most unlucky hitter in the history of the world.

      So simply saying a guy isn’t “unlucky” because he hit a ground ball is incorrect.

      Popouts, of course, you are right on. They have virtually no chance of ever turning into a hit.

      • There is one thing to take into account, and something that explains Schebler’s drop in BABIP which I touched on briefly in my post above: He really is hitting too many fly balls.

        Consider these stats: Last season, Schebler had 18.4 % linedrives, 52.6 % ground balls, and 29.1 % flyballs.

        So far this season, his percentages are: 6.1 % linedrives 42.4 % groundballs, and 51.5 %(!) flyballs.

        He seems to be getting under balls a lot more, which might also explain his uptick in power, since no one is hitting homeruns on groundballs (except possibly Billy Hamilton). Schebler’s line drives are way down, his groundballs are down by a bit, and his flyballs are way, way up.

        Once he starts hitting more linedrives and groundballs, I think we’ll see his BABIP start rising as well. But that might also mean his ISO might drop a bit too.

        Either way, the point is: Schebler is good, and we need to be patient with him.

        Patrick, question for you: in your post you mentioned something like 50% of groundballs go for hits. Can you tell us those stats for linedrives and flyballs? I can’t imagine anything more than 20% of flyballs go for hits, unless they are hit hard (read: homeruns or doubles over the heads of outfielders).

  26. I agree with Tom M. the only reason to continue to give Arroyo starts is because the FO has inning limits on young starters. In his one “good” start he still left four innings for the bullpen to finish. That is not an inning eater. It is an inning grazer. It is time to get over the nostalgia. I loved Bronson as a pitcher, but this is about winning in 2018 and 2019. Now is the time to sort out the young pitchers. Give Reed and Stephenson and Lorenzen their shots at starting.

    • I’d much rather see someone like Adleman making those Arroyo starts. Adleman can create value for the Reds or some other team (via trade) if he performs well. Arroyo has no potential to generate any value.

  27. That last time the Orioles were in town in 2005, they won the first game 4-3, but then they lost the next two games 10-1 and 10-6.

    So in their last three games at the Reds, they have given up 10, 10, and 9 runs!

    Not very relevant given the time spread, but a fun quirk nonetheless.

    • BTW, right after that 2005 series, the Reds took a road trip to Boston, where they lost game #3 to…

      …Bronson Arroyo.

  28. Yes when Winker gets up he needs to play on a regular basis. Patrick says at least 4 days but I would want to see him at least 5 days a week. He is part of the future.

  29. I’d bet a big reason Winker was up last week so he could be a part of the kids opening day festivities. Tend to doubt we will see him until maybe June again, so the Reds can get that ‘bonus’ year.

    To me, after as well as Schebler played in the second half and this spring, you really got to give him couple months to win or lose the job. To me, he does not appear to be far from having it going, Scott Schebler doesn’t look lost or totally befuddled at the plate at all to me – which is something you would get from stretches from Jay Bruce really his whole career (and I was a big JB fan).

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