Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds rally falls short

If Reds pitchers are going to give up a bunch of runs, can it please be the young ones gaining valuable experience? In the first six innings tonight, Bryan Price used Tim Adleman (29) and Blake Wood (31).

Up tomorrow: 40-year-old Bronson Arroyo.

Yay, sorting.

Cincinnati Reds 5  St. Louis Cardinals 7 || MLB || FG || Statcast

Tim Adleman went 5.1 innings, walked one and struck out three. He gave up 8 hits and 5 earned runs. Before tonight, Adleman had career ERA estimators of 5.31 (FIP) and 4.99 (xFIP).

Here’s a line from a recap I wrote last year. Only needed to change one character: “Adleman is a nice story. But he’s 28 29 a career minor league/independent league pitcher. Time to stop using up scarce starting opportunities on guys who aren’t possibly in the Reds future.”

It was great to see Devin Mesoraco back on the field. He caught the entire game. Mesoraco singled in his fourth AB, worked a (fateful) walk and threw a runner out attempting to steal 2B. His batting timing won’t be back to form for a while, but there are plenty of ways he can help the club.

Joey Votto hit a 2-run homer and also singled. Votto’s walk and strikeout rate are about the same. His isolated power is an astronomical .345. He’s on pace to hit 56 homers and 127 RBI. Maybe Marty Brennaman will stop saying Votto “struggled in April again.”

Scott Schebler hit his 8th homer of the year, singled and walked. His walk rate is an excellent 9.3% and isolated power is .351. To put that number in perspective, only one hitter in baseball (David Ortiz) had an ISO above 278 last year.

Scooter Gennett, playing 2B in place of Jose Peraza, doubled in two runs in the 8th inning. He also had a single and made a great defensive play on a ground ball over the middle. Gennett is now hitting .286/.300/.551 (122 wRC+). Peraza (.227/.261/.261; 40 wRC+) is lucky this isn’t a competition based on merit.

Zack Cozart made a few good plays at SS, showing off his range. Batting second, he also had a single to start the 4-run rally in the 8th.

Billy Hamilton was 1-5, lowering his batting average to .211 and on-base percentage to .258. Hamilton struck out twice and, as the go-ahead run at the plate in the 8th inning, weakly popped up on the first pitch he saw.

With the score 4-1 in the top of the 6th, Devin Mesoraco worked a 9-pitch walk to load the bases. Eugenio Suarez, who had been on second base, ran to third, took a step beyond third base and was thrown out by Yadi Molina. 3B coach Billy Hatcher had his back turned and couldn’t help.

The home plate umpire called strikes on Zack Cozart and Joey Votto in the ninth that hadn’t been strikes the entire game, particularly the one on Votto.

66 thoughts on “Reds rally falls short

  1. I posted this on the game thread but I think its worth saying again since Steve mentioned the weak pop out by Hamilton.

    We, as fans celebrated Price for using his bullpen the right way early in this season when he had a large arsenal of pitchers to choose from. Now that the situation has flipped to an abundance of hitters, he did not use that to his advantage tonight. I feel like this team can be right there in the wildcard conversation, but they cannot afford to be mis-managed. Reds have no room for error.

    two on two out down by two. Why not use your new three headed catcher situation and bat Barnhardt for Hamilton there. He stays in to spell Mesoraco. Slide Schebler to center and Kivlehan stays in the game in right. Better option, Hamilton or Tucker to hit the ball hard?

    • Tucker, by a mile. I did some StatCast analysis today (slow day at work) and Tucker had one of the higher % of balls hit 95mph or greater on the team. Nearly equal to Votto.

    • Agree. I don’t understand the rigid roles for these players. Duvall is a great power hitter and solid defender but his K rate and lack of on-base skills are serious flaws. Always have been throughout his minor league career. Hamilton’s skills and flaws and lack of durability are well chronicled.

      Should both play 155 games or would they be better playing 120 and used strategically as a power bat off the bench or defensive late inning replacement twice a week. Extrapolating WAR on Hamilton over 155 games is also a risky exercise.
      Both players seem to be who they are and reached their plateau. They might even perform better if rested and prepared.

      Herrera is now on a nice multi hit game streak in AAA and Ervin is playing well. Winker could help this outfield and offense if he dials it up in May. Gennett is turning in to a nice pickup. As you point out, Barnhart adds depth and flexibility to this roster.

      Use the 25 man roster strategically. If Winker or Herrera or Ervin tear it up in May, bring them up to play 4 games a week to see how much growth is in their game and how ready they are for that next challenge. Young players develop in fits and starts. Let a competition occur to earn time for 2018. Who knows? Schebler looks like he might be taking a step forward. Let him hit behind Votto and Suarez. He might “go Suarez” on us in the next 2 months. Or not…..

  2. I think the Suarez play was the TOOTBLAN-iest thing that i have seen in an MLB Game in a long time!

    • I understand that my team might not win all the time, and for now isn’t a contender, but geez, do we have to be a laughingstock? What a bonehead play.

  3. I can handle Feldman. I can sort of handle Arroyo because he “mentors” people, if everyone not in the clubhouse is to be believed.

    I can’t handle Adleman, though. He’s the definition of dead weight. He brings nothing today, along with no upside for the future.

    Nice to see Devin working good ABs. I missed that guy.

    The legend of Scooter Gennett grows. I was (perhaps) the biggest Peraza supporter on this blog, but my tune is quickly turning. He might need some more AAA. No shame in that, as he’s still insanely young.

    Schebler can be Duvall + a few walks. I think that is a perfectly fine player. I just hope the Reds can find some way to squeeze in Duvall, Schebler, Hamilton, and Winker. Duvall or Hamilton might be trade chips because they probably have the most value… but if they aren’t, I’d like to see a 4-way OF later this season when (if?) Winker is called up again.

    • I like the 4-way outfield idea and have for some time. The trick would be to use them in a way that maximizes their different values.

    • Scooter is a really intriguing situation. He turns 27 on May 1; that’ less than 6 months older than BHam by way of comparison. He is under team control for 2 more season’s at arbitration influenced salary rates.

      If Gennett continues play like has to date for the next two and a half months, instead of viewing him as deadline flip candidate, maybe the Reds should look to lock him down for 4 years (age 31 season) or so and mark off 2B/3B corner outfield rotating fill in as found.

      • If Peraza looks like he won’t pan out very well, I wouldn’t be opposed to the Scooter idea.

    • I think you will see Cody Reed assume a starters spot in the next 2 weeks and Adleman go to long relief. I agree 100% with the 4 man outfield and getting WInker in the mix by Memorial Day if he has a solid next few weeks in AAA.

      I do think its time to acknowledge Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall are who they are. Billy is speed and defense….He’s not going to hit the ball consistently hard, learn how to bunt or learn how to walk. Duvall is a 2 tool player- defense and power. He’s not going to learn how to get on base by walking more or getting more hits, nor is he going to strike out less. Peraza is frustrating but he’s young and needs playing time.

      Schebler still has some growth potential and the next 30 days are important for him.

      My eyes are focused on Schebler and Cody Reed in May. I think they are breakthrough candidates and hopefully Amir Garrett maintains his strong start and establishes himself as a permanent SP and Devin Mesoraco progresses back and starts to regain his power RH bat. If Homer is throwing off a mound on June 1 and Disco is throwing a baseball and Cozart and Storen and Feldman are building trade value….then all is good in Reds-land.

    • I like the break out the site shows. Looks like a Votto’s strike three was 1.25″ -1.5″ outside. Didn’t look quiet as much on tv. Regardless, it’s unacceptable when that’s literally 90% of your job

    • Totally anecdotal, but from all the times watching via a game day type app, votto seems to get the most outside pitches called as strikes.

      • Chris Welsh had stated the point earlier in the game telecast that with the umpire set up over the inside shoulder of the catcher it was easier to get strike calls on outside pitches just off the plate than on inside pitches just off the plate. Maybe this situation was a classic example.

        • That’s been a given since umpires shed the protective shield (and calls were worse when they used the protective shield). The same situation applies to outside pitches to both sides of the plate. This just screams for the implementation of robo calls for balls and strikes. If the umpires can’t get the calls correct and can’t maintain a consistent strike zone to the rules of the game (and they can’t!), then utilize the now available and routine technology to handle the job properly.

          • My preference would be that the ump should have some device which gives a tone or vibration indication of a “suggested” strike but that the ump still makes the final call. My reason is that I trust the current technology to get the “over the plate” horizontal dimension correct; but, given the way the rules are written, I’m not sure the technology is quite in place to really nail down the vertical axis in real time.

    • When will baseball finally go to a computerized strike zone? It’s long been time.

      • As fustrating as those bad calls are, I feel the human factor is part of beauty of the game. Now there should call reviews with all umps to improve performance.

  4. This team needs a serious conversation about just how bad their collective baseball IQ is. Suarez’s incident is not an isolated event and hasn’t been for years now. Just in this game as well, in the 4th inning Schebler hit a ball to the warning track in right field and Votto doesn’t tag from second. The hit ball had two possible outcomes: a HR or a long, high out. How are you not standing on 2nd waiting to tag??

    I can take the losing I guess, but the stupid, stupid play makes this team hard to watch

    • Caveat to that, we may not be convinced with Bryan Price as a manager, but my goodness he has the patience of a saint. He’s been putting up with this stupid crap for 3 years now. If it were me, I’d break at least 1 bat over a water cooler nightly managing this team.

    • I noticed the Votto thing too and wondered what was going on. Not to pick on Billy Hatcher, the 3B coach, because we didn’t see what if anything he was doing; but, often in wide angle views we see the 3B coach signaling the runner from second whether to stay at the bag to tag up or play it “half way”.

      • We’re still in April, and that is at least the second time this year that I can think of that Votto has not tagged up from second on such a play. The only explanation I can think of is that he doesn’t want to get fooled if the outfielder suddenly turns and plays the ball off the wall, and keeps Votto from scoring because he was right at the bag at the time. (I don’t really buy that explanation, but if it happens more than once, it would seem there has to be a reason.) …………..He’s a truly gifted hitter, and I don’t know what to make of his defense, but he’s a trip as a baserunner.

        • Notice that Votto does not slide to the bag on force outs at 2B. He slides very early and stops 5 feet or more from the base. He appears unwilling to slide aggressively….maybe fearing injury. It is not pretty to watch. Maybe that is why he does not tag up on outfield flies.

  5. I don’t get their obsession with Adelman. He isn’t good. Let’s have Stephenson, Reed, Romano pitch instead. This team is in a rough stretch right now. However, you can’t blame the hitting or the bullpen. It’s all because of the starting pitching.

    • I don’t think they have any grand illusions that Adleman is anything more than he is. But when the kids keep getting their teeth kicked in start after start, management might be leery of continuing to run them out there. Sounds like you and I agree that they might as well let the kids take the beatings instead of Adleman. Like Steve said in the post, at least maybe they’ll learn something.

      • Nothing learns anything from getting beat up. It gets you a seat on the bench or a ticket to the minors. Getting beat up only proves you don’t belong.

        • If you don’t learn from your mistakes, how are you going to learn. You also have to learn to put a bad day/inning behind you and bear down and move on to the next. They are in the bigs for a reason. I want them to quit handling them all with kid gloves.

  6. Agree with pedroborbon, vegastypo and dhud above.
    I give the Cardinals and Molina a lot of credit. No way that pickoff was spur of the moment! They knew from prior games that Suarez gets lazy or careless on the bases.
    They were waiting for him to get on base and watching for him to do something careless, then BAM got him.
    How often do the Reds do this? That is, notice things like this and think of how to take advantage of them?
    By the way, I give the Cards and Molina credit very grudgingly ’cause I don’t like them at all.

    • The last Molina the Reds had was Johnny Bench. The last “smart” player the Reds had was Scott Rolen.

  7. Just saw the Suarez pickoff video. No question that was premeditated. Molina held the ball a little longer than normal and waited to see if Suarez would stray and Gyorko was in position, ready. No excuse and if it ever happens again to any Red Hatcher, the player and Price should all be… I don’t even know the proper punishment. But if Price didn’t take responsibility publicly AND read Hatcher and Suarez the entire riot act after that then I’m embarrassed twice – once for the mistake and once for the response. That’s just inexcusable. Painful tip of the hat to the Redbirds. Just wow.

    • I agree the move was premeditated. I have my doubts it was specially designed with the Reds in mind as the target team. Molina has probably noticed over the years that a number of players have the habit of behaving like Suarez did when they arrive at 3B following a walk and had the thought stored away for future reference.

      I think it is not unusual for the 3B to come over to the base as the “runner” arrives; and, neither is that unusual for the catcher to hold the ball a little longer in that specific situation because with two outs and a full count, the runner was moving for 3rd with the pitch; and, the defense wants to make sure that they themselves don’t get ambushed by some sort of trickery.

      • I wish a sports writer, or anyone in a position to ask, would ask Molina how specific that play was. Were they looking for the play generally, or did they target the Reds or Suarez specifically? Either way it was smart by them and dumb by the Reds.

      • In the WBC, I think Molina picked a guy off first after the batter was tardy getting back to the base, because he was ‘celebrating’ getting the base hit. I hate Molina, but the give the devil his due. He stays on his toes.

        • I think it was a called play, somehow. No other reason why the 3Bman would be there right when he needed to be after a walk.

          It seems like it might tend to the side of breaking an unwritten rule. It’s like a hidden ball trick. Is it legal? Sure. But it probably shouldn’t be a part of your game, just like waiting for guys to get 1 inch off the bag when advancing on a walk.

          Legal, yes. But if I were an old school guy, which I’m not, I’d buzz Molina inside in the next AB for that.

          • Maybe, but to me, the other side of the coin might be keeping the tag on a baserunner who is safe at a base but comes off the bag slightly when he does the pop-up slide. I don’t think anybody saw the intent of replay as to ‘correct’ the call on that type of play, but if you play the game with the mentality of ‘anything legal to get an out,’ you look for every opportunity. Especially when you are trying to preserve a lead and the other team has just loaded the bases. … It was just a dumb play by Suarez.

          • Just read an article in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. According to it, Molina and Gyrko were looking specifically for Suarez to wander off the base.

    • Should they all have to run some laps and do push ups? Maybe water boarding or lethal injection? Didn’t Johnny Bench strikeout during an intentional walk in a World Series game? Perhaps he and Sparky should’ve been sent to the stockade.

      It’s a long season….stuff happens.

  8. Last place reds. I don’t like the look or sound of that. Shake it up. Make some changes. Either go all in with the “sorting”, or go all in by playing the best players( Scooter instead of Paraza, Winkler into the outfield mix, escorting Adleman to the bullpen, et al.)

  9. Reds are 2-9 last 11 games.

    Didnt Arroyo win both? If he wins today can RN cool it with the age snark for a minute or two?

  10. It seems the hotter Votto gets, the worse the team plays. What’s up with that?

    • In the 2nd half of 2015 and this year that is true. Last year, it wasn’t as the Reds played better as he played better.

  11. I’m getting fustrated by the managements continued perferrence for the traditional 5 tools. Hamilton and Peraza have horrible hitting approaches, but have top of the lineup speed. While Winkler might have the best hit tool behind Votto, but because he lacks tradition corner power he’s left in AAA.

    • Not sure I agree with this. Peraza has much better hitting skills than Hamilton. Peraza just needs to not swing at balls, have some patience. Hamilton just can’t hit strikes. He needs to bat 8th permanently.

      • Agreed. Hamilton has yet to hit a ball over 100mph this year. Peraza has maxed out at 106mph. Fastest in history is 119.4 (last night, Aaron Judge).

        Peraza’s approach is why he’s weak. He’s not physically weak like Hamilton. He COULD be a good hitter. I think there’s no chance of Hamilton ever being a good hitter.

        • Hamilton looks like a modern day Wilie Miranda who could not hit his weight but could dazzle at SS. A Punch & Judy hitter in CF does not work.

    • Winker was caught in a situation created by his wrist injury and extended recovery. He was on track for emergence on the scene for 2016 without the wrist injury. In the interum, the Reds obtained Duvall and Schebler as possible corner OF prospects. No prospect is a lock and having multiple prospect options is just sound management. Unfortunely for Winker, Duvall and Schebler both demonstrated potential at the major league level while Winker was reestablishing himself at AAA after the wrist injury. Now he needs to wait his turn and his turn will come…soon.

      The issue you reference is what that means to the Reds lineup when Winker’s turn does come. Winker certainly doesn’t fit the ‘mold’ of a corner OF and that requires a change of existing mindset within the Reds management regarding how to handle the capabilities Winker brings to the plate. If Winker hits anywhere outside the top 3 places in the order, then the Reds management has learned nothing and we are left to expect the same old, same old.

      • It would help if Winker had more speed. There is not much value in a corner outfielder who has little power, no speed, and modest defense.

        • Winker does do one thing much better than most players: that is get on base. Right now that skill would come in handy for the Reds; but, he would likely have to be in for Hamilton to have a real impact on the Reds offense. Long term, maybe the Reds look at showcasing Winker at the MLB level and then trade him to the DH league for serious return better suited in National League premium skills. Or even better, maybe he finds a way to start slugging more like he did in the lower minors before the wrist injury.

        • Yeah, it would be terrible to clog the bases with 40 more base runners a year in front of Votto, Suarez, Duvall/Schebler, and Mesoraco.

  12. Ervin with the game winning HR in the 10th inning for the Bats last night, going 2-4 w/ 1-HR in a 2-1 victory. Ervin continues to make a statement in AAA that he intends to force the Reds to consider him a viable major league OF prospect going forward.

    • I still can’t figure why they are playing Amaral and Goeddel in CF over Ervin. CF is where Ervin could help this team the most. Why not let him work on improving his defense there over two real major league long shots.

  13. Mrs. Cossack confiscated the TV last night after the Eugenio fiasco, so the Old cossack didn’t get to see the end of the game. After reviewing the games details today and reviewing the player details from yesterday and season-to-date, A few points seem to be evolving.

    Schebler hit a dry spell but has come back with a vengence. Votto appears to be beginning a Vottoesque surge. Duvall has seemingly reengaged an all or nothing, freeswinging plate approach. Mesoraco has a ways to go to regain his hitting stroke, but he has apparently regained his plate approach. Hamilton and Peraza remain clueless or incapable or both at the plate.

    • Last season, I liked Duvall as a 5-hole or 6-hole hitter, but not as a 3-hole or 4-hole hitter. That hasn’t changed. I had hoped that Duvall had adjusted to a better plate approach, but his 6.6% BB% says differently. It’s time to move Duvall out of cleanup and down in the order. I want to give Duvall and Schebler every opportunity to earn a future role with the team, but playing time doesn’t have to include hitting cleanup for Duvall.

      • I thought for one of the first times last night Duvall was really showing frustration. Both of his last two ABs he looked like he perhaps trying to just pop the ball over the infield for a hit. Both ended up being easy air puts.

    • If Price insists on hitting Votto in the #3 hole, then get Suarez in the #4 hole with Schebler and Duvall hitting in the #5 and #6 holes depending on the pitching matchup. If Price would move Votto to the #2 hole, then plant Suarez in the #3 hole and Schebler in the #4 hole. Schebler has a 9.3% BB% & .874 OPS. Combine that with Suarez’ 11.3% BB% & 1.044 OPS and Votto’s 11.2% BB% & .922 OPS and those are the batters who should be hitting in the top half of the lineup.

      Cozart has an unsustainable 16.3% BB% & 1.127 OPS, but I really don’t know what to make of his current offensive prowess. His walk rate is obviously a deliberate effort but his BAbip speaks to a regression to mean result in his future. Since the Reds have no other alternatives available right now, I have no issue with Cozart hitting in front of Votto, either in the leadoff position or the #2 hole. That locks in the top half of the lineup.

    • I liked the look of Mesoraco at the plate yesterday. There’s no question his timing was off and it may be a while before he regains his hitting stroke, but the plate appearance when he walked was a thing of beauty. Mesoraco can work out of the #7 hole until he regains his hitting stroke or move up to the #6 hole if Votto moves up to the #2 hole. Eventually, Mesoraco will move up in the lineup as he starts making better contact and driving the ball rather than hitting so many weak ground balls and popups.

    • Until Hamilton or Peraza prove they can get on base effectively, they have no business anywhere close to the top of the lineup. I really question if Hamilton has that capability. Peraza seems to lack the commitment necessary to have that impact at the major league level. Unfortunately, their minor league development seems to have failed both of them. Hamilton was promoted to the major league level before he had proved that he was ready for such a move. Peraza had success at the minor league level with his swing early, swing often, swing at everything approach. Now he has to develope a proffesional plate approach at the major league level or his major league career will be very limited. How this plays out is yet to be determined, but trying to fit that square peg in the round hole by playing Hamilton and Peraza at the top of the order when they can not get on base is an excercise in futility.

  14. So many times and so many pitchers get through an inning against us with 10 or even less pitches.We are soooooooooo aggressive we get ourselves out and its even worse when we have guys in scoring position.Last night in the eighth our pinch hitter worked an 8 pitch walk and Billy with two guys on(the tieing runs) goes out on the first pitch.First of all he shouldn’t have batted because he is not a threat to drive the ball far enough to score both runners,nor is he going to walk so its going to take two hits right there to tie the game.Bad managing by Price.I love Billy but he is a no hit great defense kind of guy.He should hit 8th or 9th with Peraza leading off if one of them has to lead off.

  15. Brewers fan and huge Scooter follower here… 1st I would like to say great site and fantastic podcast!

    I really felt Scooter was going to have a breakout season last year. He started off hot and then suffered a pulled oblique during BP in Chicago. He came back too soon and his numbers suffered for the month of May. He proved he can hit lefties with an average OBP of .330 when playing everyday and also had some thump in his bat with 14 long ones. The whole lefty thing was very interesting to me. He came up and platooned with Weeks, so the only lefty atbats he would get were usually against lefty specialists. Anyway, I wish Scooter and the Reds all the best when you’re not playing the Crew. You have a 26yr old player in scooter that plays hard and hits the ball hard. Also, from what I’ve seen of perazza, he just doesn’t drive the ball like is expected of 2nd basemen in the league. It has become more of a power slot over the years and the league has adjusted to his bloops to right and/or the outfield in general. Please don’t hold the perazza comment against me as I’ve not followed him closely… Maybe he rips the cover off the ball when I’m not watching.

  16. The Nationals just lost leadoff hitter and defensive star CF ADam Eaton for the season. While they have the offensive punch to make up for his loss, this is their year- already dominating the NL East- they don’t want to move Trae Turner back to the outfield.

    Trade Billy Hamilton now for their elite A shortstop- Kieboom or AA super CF Stephenson.

    • This is a good idea. Dusty Baker would be the manager who would most value a player like Billy Hamilton. Only question is if Hamilton’s bad start is torpedoing his value right now.

      • With rumors of Harper going to the yankees in FA after next year…It’s imperative the Nats go all in…Their offense is absurdly good…They now have a huge hole in cf. Dusty could bat him 8 th and make it work.

  17. “Peraza (.227/.261/.261; 40 wRC+) is lucky this isn’t a competition based on merit.”

    Steve, you’re a savage. I like you.

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