Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds get swept in Milwaukee….oh young pitching

Three days in Milwaukee, three days of Reds pitching getting destroyed by Brewers hitters. Today, that distinct honor went to Rookie Davis getting beat around in route to a 9-4 loss. The Reds were outscored in the three games in Milwaukee 29-12.

This series in Milwaukee was a quick reminder that there are growing pains with young pitchers. It was Amir Garrett on Monday (3.1 IP, 8 H, 9 ER), it Robert Stephenson in relief on Tuesday (0.2 IP, 5 H, 4 ER), and it was Rookie Davis today (2.1 IP, 11 H, 7 ER).

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (10-12) 4 8 1
Milwaukee Brewers (12-11) 9 14 3
W: Peralta (4-1) L: Davis (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 Rookie Davis allowing a 2-run home run to Ryan Bruan with 0 outs in the 1st inning, giving the Brewers a 2-1 lead. That play decreased the Reds chances of winning by 15.1% (from 45.5% to 30.4%).

Positives

Eric Thames didn’t hit a home run!

Scott Schebler hit two home runs! It looks like Schebler might have turned a corner, as he is 6 for 15 with 3 HR over the last four games. Don’t look now, but Schebler now has 7 HR and a 112 wRC+.

Joey Votto and Adam Duvall also homered. The bad news today was that all four home runs were of the solo variety. Votto and Duvall both now have 7 HR on the season. Remember, Votto hit just 2 home runs in all of April last season.

Cody Reed pitched two innings in relief. He wasn’t perfect, but he was a lot better than Rookie Davis. Reed walked 2 batters, gave up 3 hits, and 1 earned run, but he did strike out 4 batters. I think the Reds are just limiting Reed’s innings right now, and plan on putting him in the rotation relatively soon for the remainder of the year (at least that is what I gathered from Dick Williams interview with Chad Dotson last week).

Drew Storen pitched 1.2 perfect innings just to get some work in today. Storen struck out 2 batters today, and how has a 0.82 ERA/2.21 FIP with 13 K and 4 BB in 11.0 IP this season. What a nice pickup he is looking out to be. If the Reds are out of it by the deadline, he could potentially be flipped for a nice prospect.

Wandy Peralta also pitched a perfect inning. He now has a 0.93 ERA/2.01 FIP with 14 K and 2 BB. The Reds just might have found their go-to left-handed reliever with Cingrani on the DL.

Negatives

Rookie Davis: Yikes. I like Rookie and his future with the Reds, but it doesn’t look like that future is now. He now has a 11.17 ERA/7.29 FIP through his first three big league starts.

The rest of the squad all performed pretty well. It is rare to only have one really negative performance when you lose 9-4, but today was that case.

Not so random thoughts……….

Today’s game was not broadcast by either the Reds or Brewers on TV,  but there was video broadcast on MLB.com. That broadcast featured the Brewers longstanding radio play-by-play guy Bob Uecker. He is such a great listen.

Up Next:

Reds at Cardinals
Friday, 8:15 PM
TV: FOX Sports Ohio
Tim Adleman (2.70 ERA) vs Lance Lynn (2.70 ERA)

 

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

70 thoughts on “Reds get swept in Milwaukee….oh young pitching

  1. Wait, I thought if Thames didn’t hit a HR, the Reds automatically win. What’s going on here? Manfred will hear of this!

  2. We’ve seen three world-class lousy outings in the last week by Cody Reed, Amir Garrett and Rookie Davis. The only difference between this and the Haynes-Dessens Era is that these pitchers at least have a chance to be good by next year.

    Once the young pitchers get it going the wrong way, they don’t seem to have any ability to slow the game down, right the ship and minimize damage. Eight pitchers have started games for the Reds this season, but it seems like 14 have. The Ace, Tim Adleman, is up next.

    • Speaking of Adleman, why not start him on regular rest today? Everybody else can make their regular start through Monday and then you are in the exact same situation Tuesday, plus you would have had Ervin for 1 more game. If they bring Mes up Friday, I assume Davis is optioned. Would Davis have been eligible to do a rehab start?- he went on the DL 2 weeks ago

  3. When your SP is this bad I guess it doesn’t matter but Price rolls out the same lineup again. Change it up a little bit on a day game following a night. Remember when we we’re 7 & 2?

  4. The sky is not falling.
    The bullpen has been solid. Iglesias and Peralta are doing well. Lorenzen had a bad outing but is a shutdown guy. Storen is building his value and looking like a great pickup.

    The problem is injuries to starting pitching-Disco and Bailey and Finnegan. You can’t make up for that. Rookie and Romano just weren’t ready. Feldman and Arroyo are doing what they can. Garrett had a hiccup but looks ready to take the ball every 5th day.

    Cozart is healthy and building his trade value. Suarez is growing as a player and fun to watch. Votto is still the same great player.

    The most frustrating problem is the failure of key players to show signs of growth and development- Peraza and Hamilton and Stephenson. Peraza won’t walk. Hamilton has a low walk rate and his batted ball data show the same pattern. He has zero infield hits…He doesn’t hit the ball hard….only 19% hard hit balls …..and he has a 20% infield pop up rate.
    Stephenson may be one of those players who just can’t harness his talent.

    Schebler and Reed deserve more looks. They seem to be the 2 players most likely to breakthrough.

    • It certainly will be interesting to see how the NL Central plays out this season. Aside from the Cubs, none of the four other teams currently stands out as particularly strong. (Of course, it’s only 22 games into the season and anything could happen.)

  5. I’ll add a negative. The two guys hitting head of Votto, Duvall, Suarez, Schebler, and Cozart (all guys with above average OPS) have an OBP of .261 and are OPS’ing in the low 500’s with wRC+ of 38 and 41.

    Imagine the runs the Reds could score without these two base-un-cloggers ahead of them.

    Nice to see Schebler finding his stroke. What Peralta’s done so far this year has been very impressive.

    • Cozart
      Votto
      Suarez
      Schebler
      Duvall
      Barnhart/Mesoraco
      Scooter
      Billy

      I would give Peraza a few games off.

      ranking by the toughest at bats. I would not want to face Mozart, Votto and Suarez in the top 3

      Bag the stolen base. Lets use the cubs strategy and have our grinders up first

      • That Mozart cat can be particularly tough in G minor written for chamber orchestra.

      • For his career, Cozart gets on base at about the same rate as Hamilton. Cozart currently has a BABIP of about .500 for which he will soon begin the painful process of mean reversion.

        Not sure if that’s the guy you want to give more AB’s to

        • Good point, Chuck, but he evidently has significantly changed his approach. If so, the regression, though inevitable, may not be severe.

        • Cozart isn’t spectacular by any means, but comparing career stats can be misleading. I’m not sure the last two years constitute a trend in Cozart’s case, but he certainly isn’t the same hitter that he was from 2012-2014. I remember a period where Cozart was arguably the worst everyday hitter in then NL.

          I don’t know if we really have a solid read on Hamilton’s baseline OBP. Last year could simply be an outlier, making the difference between Cozart and Hamilton even wider. In addition, 10 points in OBP is probably pretty meaningless, but a 150 points in SLG % is not.

          Clearly Cozart is not an ideal leadoff hitter, but I’m willing to play the hot hand until someone else steps up, whether that person is Billy Hamilton, Jose Peraza, Jesse Winker, etc. I don’t even really care if the Reds have a true leadoff hitter, so long as the best 5-6 guys are batting 1-6. All I know is Billy Hamilton isn’t one of those guys.

          • So it’s possible that Cozart has legitimately improved, but not possible that Hamilton will?

          • I think the distinction is that Cozart HAS made a change (resting his bat on shoulder prior to load) and Hamilton is still in the “CAN make a change” category.

            Not that I think Cozart should bat 2nd. Until he shows he can maintain his walk rate or that he has a new true-talent BABIP level, he is still the sub-.300 OBP guy in my mind. Everyone goes on hot streaks from time to time.

          • Chuck,

            Not at all. Hamilton can certainly improve. I don’t feel like the Reds should cross their fingers and hope he improves while batting leadoff.

  6. It makes no difference who leads off and who bats 8th till the starting pitching improves.
    I guess Romano will take Rookie’s turn next time. I see Romano is pitching tonight in AAA. So his turn would fall in line.

  7. Was at the game today. The old saying applies – “A bad day at the ballpark is still better than a day at the office.”

    The Brewers fan next to me commented that he thought it odd that Lorenzen was brought in to replace Peralta with 2 outs and no one on in the bottom of the 8th with the Reds trailing by 5 runs. I had no answer other than maybe Lorenzen needed to get rid of the stink from his last outing.

  8. I am a Reds fan in Iowa. I tried getting someone to drive the 4 hours with me to Milwaukee for this series. Turns out it isn’t easy to get someone to drop everything they are doing to drive to Milwaukee on no notice. I didn’t end up going and it seems like it all worked out for the best.

  9. The Reds pitching lead major league baseball in strikeouts. Go figure, obviously not a major factor in winning and losing.

  10. I’d say it’s time to rent a bus and send all those young pitchers back to Louisville, it doesn’t make sense to keep them in the majors since it’s not helping to their development at all

    • Some of them may not be ready, true, but that is different than “not helping their development at all.” Someone like Rookie Davis would probably benefit from AAA… but someone like Garrett I don’t think would. Practicing against inferior hitters won’t help you get major league hitters out. And his mechanics don’t need tweaks and he doesn’t need to develop another pitch.

      Reed is an interesting case. Flashes of brilliance followed by walking everyone and laying fastball after fastball down the middle.

      Stephenson, in my opinion, is who he is. He’s going to always struggle with command, making him a volatile, but high-ceiling reliever. I don’t think more time in AAA will magically make him be able to hit the corners, unless there was to be a new pitching coach, or somethign similar, that might help him implement a change to his mechanics.

      Just musing…

      • People forget pitcher development rarely goes into a straight line. Homer Bailey was a better prospect than any of these kids and he was absolutely miserable his first two or three stints in the majors.

  11. Is it time to have a real pitching coach with the team, someone who adds value, by teaching these kids the must have pitches like the change up, and can share valuable major league experience? Didn’t Mario Soto have something to do with Cueto’s development? Doesn’t seem like Price is teaching them anything other than repeating the mantra ‘pound the strike zone’, which doesn’t work well against a team like the current Brewers who ‘pound your pitches’.

    And what is with wasting Storen, Peralta and Lorenzen (for one batter? Really?) on a 9-4 blowout? Is Price the perennial complainer about taxing the bullpen, exacerbating the problem by pitching SPL on an every other day schedule, even when the situation is decidedly LOW leverage?

    • With a day off today, I bet Price just wanted them to get a little work. Don’t know if that’s smart, but it might be.

  12. OLD SCHOOL made some great observations especially about not having Homer,Disco and Finnegan.Just like last year we get much better when they return.Untill then the young guys are learning to pitch at the big league level and it isn’t easy.Reed,Garrett,Davis,Stephenson all have had some really good outings either out of the pen or as a starter and they also have had some really bad ones.I expect it to continue because it is rare that any pitcher in their first or second year set the world on fire.Again the pitching will sort itself out and we will end up with a pretty good pitching staff full of young guys with some upside.The offense concerns me because we have the same guys doing the same things and some of them are doing well but we have some decisions to make with the others.Honestly though I am shocked that we have scored the runs we have when you look at the OBP of the guys that are getting the most playing time.We have guys hitting 3-6 in the lineup that have a total of 26 homers with 3 hitting 7 and the other guys with 5.They won’t keep up that pace so how are we going to score?We don’t take walks although I am really surprised at Cozart and the walks he is taking.In addition we start swinging in the dugout.

  13. Rookie Davis simply isn’t cut out to be a big league starter. His fastball is the perfect hitting speed with no movement. His curve has good movement though, so I would think a move to the bullpen might help his stuff play up in a shorter outing.

    That said, Barnhart’s pitch calling didn’t help matters the whole series. You would think by the 3rd game he would figure out these guys are feasting on the fastball-curveball combination he called for almost exclusively during the Brewers big innings. All a hitter had to do was guess because he’s gonna be right 50% of the time! Price loves to tout the benefits of the changeup, but his catcher has to be on the same page.

    Arroyo talks a lot about showing the hitter different shapes and speeds, but the Reds pitchers either aren’t talented enough to execute more than 2, or they are being hamstrung by the pitch calling. One is fixable, the other isn’t.

  14. I’ll stick to my post from spring training. The Reds need to pitch the young starters regularly and let them get experience. You can’t stick Cody Reed in one game then pull him out. You can’t keep an arm like Robert Stephenson’s in the bullpen without trying him as a starter.

    Reed, Garrett and Stephenson should pitch every turn of the rotation, without exception. Rookie Davis stays in there until Brandon Finnegan gets back.

    The front office and manager can’t panic every time one of the young pitchers has a bad start or two. That’s part of the process, not a deficiency.

    It’s unbelievable that in a rebuilding year, with an organization full of talented arms, the Reds rotation includes Bronson Arroyo, Scott Feldman and Tim Adleman.

      • Yes, but not the batting order. Batting Peraza lower might help him adjust. If you’re referring to Billy Hamilton, he’s playing in his fifth season for the Reds and has over 1600 plate appearances.

    • I agree but what happens when you only get 3-4 innings out of your starters 3 days a week? It seems like the organization is close to getting everyone where they want them to be but the injuries are making them more conservative than we would prefer

    • Based on Price’s comments, I think the organization has separated the young kids into an A and B squad. The kids on the A squad will finish the year in the bullpen, the kids on the B squad will end the year in the rotation. There is really no other explanation for a guy like Rookie Davis leapfrogging Cody Reed in the first place. I think they will get their innings, this is a way to get them MLB work and stay under an innings threshold.

      I don’t think there are many successful examples of rebuilding teams doing it the way you are apparently advocating. If Bailey and Disco were healthy, we might see 1 of Bronson, Feldman, or Adleman pitching, but we certainly wouldn’t see all 3.

      • Pure speculation, but the Davis leapfrog could be explained by the organization trying to send a message to Reed and Stephenson about trying hard to address issues that have held them back. Lots of message sending, little experience obtaining.

        The season is early, with plenty of time to get the young arms starts. But the return of DeSclafani and Bailey complicates that effort. I wish I had the confidence you did that the organization will push aside either Arroyo or Feldman. Agreed on Adleman.

        • If, and of course we really don’t know, the organization was trying to send a message to Reed and Stephenson by starting Davis over them, I hope they (Price?) also communicated that verbally/clearly to them as well.

          • I know what you are saying, but I don’t think there are any breakdowns on the communications highway with Price and his pitching staff. The breakdowns are between the pitchers’ ears.

    • Glad I’m not the only one that feels this way. The way the Reds have handled Reed and Stephenson is baffling. First they start off by announcing at the beginning of Spring Training that the rotation spots up for competition which is dumb because you are just basing your decision off of what one month of results where pitchers aren’t always facing MLB hitters.

      Second, after their lip service about an open competition they promote Garrett and Davis anyways who were worse than Reed and Stephenson if you take out their last appearances in Spring Training.

      And then finally you give Reed once chance against one of the best hitting teams in baseball and you actually let him know he only has this one chance in the near future. Um no pressure there. Talk about setting up someone to fail. All this while giving Garrett and Davis long leashes in their starts.

      If they want Reed and Stephenson to develop either put them in the rotation or send them to AAA where they can start every fifth day. I don’t care if they get their brains bashed in. I’d much rather have Reed and Stephenson getting shelled than Davis and Garrett. Having Reed and Stephenson rot in the bullpen is a waste and isn’t helping their development, especially with Price’s short leash. It’s like fans have the mindset that Reed and Stephenson need to be Clayton Kershaw right now or they are busts as starters and the Reds are shuffling guys in and out like they are in a pennant race or something. Maybe there’s a method to all madness and I’m just not seeing it.

      • Psychology, psychology. I have my doubts that repeatedly failing horribly builds strength and confidence. Putting Reed and Stephenson in the rotation and keeping them there regardless of outcome is akin to teaching a kid to swim by throwing him into deep water (and I know that somebody is going to comment that that’s a fine thing to do, and somebody else is going to say that these guys get paid a lot of money, so they should be able to handle it, and I vehemently disagree with both contentions). The other point, unless you think Price should leave them in for 6 innings or more regardless of the pounding, is the impact on the bullpen, which may already be showing a bit of wear. Do I know what to do in this situation? No, I do not. but I’d guess that continuing to give them various opportunities to face MLB hitters makes sense.

      • Clayton Kershaw?? Right now Reed and Stephenson just need to be Ryne Duren.

    • Those 3 pitchers are better than the rest. The Reds might lose 120 games without Them.

  15. I wouldn’t feel so bad about Feldman and Arroyo pitching if they were consistently giving quality starts of at least 7 innings and saving the bullpen for when the young arms were out there. Then if Reed, Finnegan, Stephenson, Davis gave you three or four good innings there would not be the pressure to leave them in another inning even if they are getting shelled, to save the bullpen. I also would not mind it if they were just trying to limit their innings maybe by skipping a turn every rotation. At least then there would be plan not reaction. Maybe they know what they are doing, it just doesn’t seem like it.
    I honestly don’t know who to blame for Hamilton and Peraza both batting at the top of the lineup but figure that has to fall on Price. (Don’t know if you can blame him for the signing of Feldman and Arroyo. Maybe for using Feldman as a starter) At least push Peraza back to 7 or 8 and allow him to make adjustments. Push Votto up to the 2 spot and Suarez to the three. then maybe we might actually score some first inning runs.

    • Let’s see how Arroyo does in his next few starts before we blame someone for signing him. His most recent start was the best recent start by a Red.

    • Feldman and Arroyo are the only ones to get through at least 5 innings in all their starts since the first week, they have been adequate, not too many pitchers give 7 innings every start.

      • I’m fine with Feldman because if he does well he can become a good flip candidate at the trade deadline. Arroyo on the other hand is a complete head scratcher. No team is going to trade for him so what’s the point of trying to see if he is still adequate? How are the Reds going to figure who is going to be a part of the future rotation with Arroyo taking away valuable starts from the young guys?

  16. Someone mentioned it earlier, but they didn’t exactly put Reed in the best position to succeed. He basically got one chance to impress, which just so happened to be against possibly the best collection of patient, powerful hitters in the National League.

    Then, when he (predictably) struggled, you say “Sorry, you blew your chance” and put him back in the bullpen. I just don’t get it.

    They need to give Reed a good long look in the rotation to see what he can do. Send Rookie (who clearly needs more AAA seasoning) down and let Reed have about 10 starts in a row. To be honest, if I was running things I would do the same for Stephenson.

    • or at least be consistent- there was no reason to start Rookie Wed, now that they did got to give him another chance, but Reed deserves another as well

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