2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: The Billy Hamilton/Amir Garrett Power Hour

Final — 10 innings R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (11-14) 3 3 2
Cincinnati Reds (12-13) 4 6 0
W: Lorenzen (2-0) L: Hudson (0-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–After struggling his last time out, Amir Garrett returned to form today with an outstanding start against the Buccos: 7 innings, two runs allowed on two hits (both home runs).

–The Reds were down 2-0 until the bottom of the sixth. Billy Hamilton reached on an error, then promptly stole second — his third stolen base of the night, and 13th of the season, tops in the league. After Joey Votto walked, Adam Duvall busted his 8th home run of the season, and the Reds had a 3-2 lead.

–In the bottom of the tenth, Tucker Barnhart drew a one-out walk, and Arismendy Alcantara came on to pinch-run for him. Alcantara advanced to second on a throwing error by Pittsburgh reliever Daniel Hudson and, one out later, Billy Hamilton doubled to drive in the winning run. Walk it off, Redlegs.

–Hamilton reached base three times (including once on a fielding error) with a double, a run scored, an RBI, and three stolen bases.

–Michael Lorenzen pitched two perfect innings, the ninth and the tenth. He struck out three and was pretty much dominant.

The Bad
–Really bad decision-making by Bryan Price in the bottom of the ninth tonight. With the game tied 3-3, Duvall drew a leadoff walk. Scott Schebler — who has been among the hottest hitters in the league for the last couple of weeks — came to the plate…and squared to bunt. Then he squared to bunt again. Then he struck out.

Why you would ask Schebler to bunt in that situation is beyond me. Of course, it provided the Pirates with a free out, and he didn’t advance the runner. Then pinch-hitter Eugenio Suarez grounded into a double play almost immediately. Rally killed.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Two wins in a row. That’s a winning streak, my friends.

–Garrett was in command all night. It’s been a while since I’ve seen a rookie pitcher demonstrate so much confidence on the mound so early in his career. I love that demeanor: Garrett just seems unflappable.

–Drew Storen gave up a homer to Josh Harrison — Harrison’s second of the night — to allow the Pirates to tie the game. But it was really just one bad pitch. Storen looked pretty good once again tonight.

–With his first stolen base tonight, Billy Hamilton passed Brandon Phillips to move into 8th place on the Reds all-time SB list (since 1901). With four more SBs, Hamilton will move into 7th place on the franchise list, passing Hall-of-Famer Edd Roush.

–I know I’ve become a bit irrational about Hamilton over the last year, and it’s a fun little running joke. He has been pretty bad at the plate so far in 2017, though the defense and base running have been elite, as usual. But he seems like such a genuine kid, it’s hard to root against him. (I just wish he’d start getting on base again.)

–Amazing post-game interview by Hamilton. I enjoyed this part: “My team always says, ‘Billy, you get on and we go.'”

Yes, Billy. When you get on, the Reds go. Go Reds.

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47 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: The Billy Hamilton/Amir Garrett Power Hour

  1. Duvall, Schebler, and Joey all on pace for 50+ hrs! Hrs are up across the board but thats crazy! When I was a kid 4 Dodgers hit 30 and 3 Atlanta Braves once hit 40 (Aaron, Davey Johnson, and someone else?)

    • You don’t even have to go that far back, I imagine. I remember the Mariners teams of the late 90’s had some impressive HR number, with Griffey/Buhner/A-Rod/Martinez/Sorrento providing the power. I think in 96 or 97 they put up some monster HR numbers.

      The Rockies also had a pretty potent HR hitting team around that same time, with Galarraga/Castilla/Burks/Bichette/Walker.

      Finally, the Astros around the turn of the millennium I’m sure had some good HR years with Bagwell/Hidalgo/Alou/Berkman.

      Granted, this was the Steroid Era, and there are probably some other teams I’m forgetting, but these are some that still standout in my mind as “Holy crap, half the team can hit it out of the park in any at-bat!” I don’t know how more pitchers from that era don’t have PTSD.

  2. I love videos and GIFs in the recap!

    I’m with you on Billy. I want him to succeed so bad. After a hot 1st 10 games or so, he’s been struggling big time, but he has hit safely in 7 of his last 8, and has 3 walks.

  3. It’s a good thing the wind was blowing out toward right field during that last at-bat…

  4. I am watching Cueto and the Giants right now and they mentioned Cueto will be pitching in Cincy on Sunday, so I looked up the schedule. The Reds go back to SF the following week and Garret and Cueto are scheduled to duel a week from Friday. Really hope that matchup happens. Both are so fun to watch right now.

  5. This team would be pretty good if the the disabled list wasn’t full of an entire starting rotation! I’m not advocating for injuries but I would rather they happen this year especially if that opens the door for the young guys to compete and get a chance to pitch. Assuming that the young arms take their lumps and are able to progress, it will surely help the teams chances of competing next year a lot better. But Price has to let guys like Bob Steve, Reed, Garrett, and Romano get innings. Maybe that’s part of the plan and he plans on letting them finish out the season in the rotation, I don’t know. It’s probably the sleep deprivation but I’m really excited about the 2018 Reds. But that hinges on more young guys getting innings over the old guys. Take the bumps and bruised of young pitching now instead of 2018-2019 when this team could be firing on all cylinders. When the Reds are competitive we don’t want to be held back by the pitching because it lacks experience.

    On a side note. I just bought a PS4 and MLB The Show 17. I’ll update you all later in the year and let you know how awesome/awful my GM skills are. As enticing as it is, I have no plans of trading Votto. So whatever I do with the roster will not revolve around dumping his salary or getting a mix of prospects and pros in return for the MVP 1st Basemen.

  6. Really bad decision-making by Bryan Price in the bottom of the ninth tonight. With the game tied 3-3, Duvall drew a leadoff walk. Scott Schebler — who has been among the hottest hitters in the league for the last couple of weeks — came to the plate…and squared to bunt. Then he squared to bunt again. Then he struck out.

    100% agreement. Why on earth have Schebler bunt when he’s been hitting well again? Price is too bunt happy and it rarely works. Otherwise, fun game to watch. When’s the last time a team had three runs on three hits? Somebody will look it up.

    • I like the bunt option in certain situations. But that was not one of them.

      Glad Hamilton got the big hit. Maybe this will jumpstart him.

      Garrett coming back after getting shelled was big time.

    • That was a terrible match-up for Schebler, though. He isn’t nearly as good against lefties, and Rivero was throwing 99.

      Plus, as I understand the research, the sac bunt with no outs actually improves the team’s chances of scoring exactly one run. But that is all that the Reds needed–one run = one win. (By contrast, bunting with 0-out/runner on 1st in any other situation, say in the second inning, reduces the total run expectancy, because it makes it less likely that the team gets multiple runs in that inning.) Thus, there is a legitimate argument for bunting there, and maybe the weight of the evidence supports it.

      The bug in all bunt/don’t bunt arguments, though, is whether the guy can actually bunt. When in doubt, and it’s Brett Butler, then bunt. When in doubt and it’s Barry Bonds, don’t bunt. I doubt Schebler is a good bunter, but that is a guess.

      Given the match-up, Schebler was unlikely to hit Rivero very hard, and the most probable result if he hadn’t bunted was a strikeout. He could have dinked a double or even homered, but he also could have rolled over into a double play.

      • Nah, not quite the case.

        Chance of at least 1 run scoring when going from 1st-0 out to 2nd-1 out decreases from 41.6% to 39.7%.

        If you had a guy on 2nd base with 0 out and sac’d him to 3rd with 1 out, that is where the increase happens.

        You cant just assume success, either. You can to assume some chance of bunt failure when doing a composition of percentages.

        Basically, it’s never correct to bunt. Unless you have a guy that is like 95% likely to lay it down, and you have a guy on 2nd base with 0 outs in a 1 run game in the late innings. So… basically, never.

        • From what I have seen – it not that easy of a thing to do, curious what are the success rates of bunting the guy over for ML hitters in that situation, I would be very surprised if it is above 75%. What always puzzles me is when the batter gets 2 strikes they bail on the strategy… I realize you do not want to bunt into a foul ball out, but aren’t the chances getting a hit with 2 strikes severely decreased

      • I seem to remember Schebler bunting for a base hit not too long ago…probably to beat the shift. Maybe Schebler was trying to bunt on his own, more to get on or avoid the DP than to sac. Of course, he did try twice, which would indicate that he was told to.

    • Right. If you are going to give up the out anyway in the ninth, then bring in somebody who can actually bunt. Not that I would agree with pulling a hot hitter like Schebler, especially with a short bench. So with the options available you should just swing away. IMO, while everyone should in theory know how to bunt, it’s similar to asking a middle reliever to start a game. Sure he knows how to pitch but it’s not his strong suit and bad things usually happen. The bunt is only a good idea in that circumstance with an excellent bunter. And even then I think giving up the out was a mistake

    • Just an opinion, but in a sport where failing 7 out of 10 times to do your job is considered a great hitter, and failing 6 out of 10 times makes you a HOF; I am surprised that more people don’t see that BP usually plays the percentages, especially in that situation. They didn’t need a big inning, or a 3 run homerun. They needed 1 run to win. I have no problem with BP calling for a bunt in that situation, I have more of a problem with a major league hitter not being able to execute the bunt and move the runner over.

      Its called a sacrifice for a reason. Stand in the box, make contact with the baseball, and move the runner into scoring position. It works when done correctly, as well as keeps you out of a double play which ultimately ended the inning. Now in the 6th or 7th inning, then yes, I have an issue with a sac bunt with your hottest hitter, but not there. Not when 1 run is all you need to win the game. It is part of the strategy of baseball.

      • but the percentages are against scoring thus it does not help so BP plays against the percentages- even if his strategy is successful… to me
        1) he has appx 35-40% chance of doing something good without making an out including
        a) getting lead runner to 3rd with no outs on a single or double
        b) winning the game with a HR or long x-Bhit
        2) from what I have seen hitters are not that great at sacrificing,
        – opposition even gets the lead runner sometimes when they actually get the bunt down
        – they only typically try twice and then try to hit with 2 strikes at a huge advantage
        – any one know the % of successfully attempting a sacrifice bunt?
        3) having a runner on 2nd and getting a hit does not guarantee a run either
        4) don’t pitchers pitch worse with a runner on 1st and no out? why take away that advantage?

  7. I will continue to pull for Billy but this is his fourth year.He just has to get on base more then what he has done so far.Garrett showed he will compete which is all you can ask for from anybody.Great comeback after getting hammered the last time out.What I really enjoyed was the passion Storen showed in the dugout after he gave up the tieing homer in the eighth.I like it when guys get mad at themselves for failing to execute and he has been really good this year.Finally asking Schebler to bunt is just plain goofy at any time.You already had a hole on the right side for him to shoot for and even if he is successful you take the bat out of Suarez’s hand to pitch to Peraza.Come on man lets get real you handcuff both Scott and Eugenio and put the game in the hands of Peraza and Tucker.What would you do?Please think ahead.

    • Yep, I said to the person I was at the game with “Even if he gets it down here, I walk Suarez and pitch to Peraza and Tucker”

      After the 1st pitch, which almost hit him and he bunted foul in self-defense, I screamed “Take the bunt off!”

  8. Bad – How about Cozart? Think he’s been 0-fer so far in the 2-hole… maybe Votto in the 2-hole with Duval and Schebler behind him?

  9. I noticed in Sunday’s game that Hamilton looked more comfortable than he had been looking. His swing looked more level, like it did in the last half last year, plus he got deeper in the count. His last two turns Sunday were a walk and a single.

    Last night, he singled to center on the second pitch in his first time up, then saw 6, 6, 7 and 6 pitches in his ensuing 4 ABs. He did strike out twice–once fouling off 2 2-strike pitches, and another on a full count–but he had good cuts both times.

    The first guy to swarm Hamilton after his game-winning hit was Votto, who was clearly pumped for Hamilton, so I have to believe that Votto is working hard with him now and it is starting to pay off.

    (Now, how they scorled that last play a double is beyond me.)

    • any softly hit over the 1st baseman’s head is an auto-double for Billy. I’ve never seen it not be a double for him. Kudos to the scorer.

      • I wonder whether scorers are trying to be more ‘accurate’ in that regard. There was a time when that would have been called a single, because Billy needed only to reach first base.

        • Yes, on one replay he clearly reaches 2nd base. Heck, he could have kept running all around the bases for a HR if he wanted . . . of course he’d get a beanball the next day, but still.

          I wish the opposite would happen: bottom ninth, game tied, runner on, hitter mashes it over the fence. I wish he’d just stop at first. No need to pad the stats!

  10. It’s very interesting that what has set Garrett apart from the other minor league pitchers making the jump this year is his control. It’s not his velocity or amazing breaking pitch. It’s his ability to locate low in the strike zone. This has been eye-opening for me.

    It’s also been eye-opening that Storen is excelling basically the same way. Not to say that velocity is not important, because it obviously is. Hitters lock in on Arroyo and his 70s and 80s velocity the second or third time through the order.

    I let out a deep sigh in the top of the ninth while watching Lorenzen go 3-0 or 3-1 on the leadoff batter in a tie game. It was frustration after watching two pitchers who have control pitch for the first eight. He recovered, but you can just tell in watching him he doesn’t have the same consistent control in the strike zone as Garrett and Storen. Both players’ walk rates are at or below 1 for every 3 innings.

    Garrett looks like a keeper. You can’t say that yet about any of the other pitchers in the current rookie crop, and he doesn’t have a 98 mph heater or noon-to-6 breaking pitch.

  11. Two good Garretts going at it last night.
    Our Amir Garrett looked really good last night. Down low in the zone most of the night and pounding the outside corner on hitters. He was working his slider with lethality.
    I watched the Pirates TV telecast last night. Their announcers were very impressed with Amir Garrett. Remember they have been watching Taillon, Kuhl, and Glasnow in their development recently on their end. Taillon and Amir Garrett would be two young pitchers to build an awesome young staff around.

  12. Why was Schebler bunting in the bottom of the 9th with 0 outs and the leadoff hitter on? Because The Book says so.
    Actually, while a little surprised by Price’s move to have Schebler attempt to bunt, it didn’t upset me. What upset me was Schebler looking like an incompetent boob trying to bunt when he has shown the ability to nicely place a bunt down in the past. Schebler failed miserably in that at bat. Having Duvall at second base with one out and Suarez coming to the plate would have been the situation if Schebler had would have done one of the easiest things to do in baseball, get a bunt down. Got to fault the player in this instance, not the manager.
    One thing, Schebler is a fly ball hitter, so with a FO he most likely doesn’t move the runner up. Second thing, Schebler does hit the ball hard, so any ground ball to an INF and it is a GIDP. Third thing, Schebler has shown an ability to get a bunt down.
    Schebler just didn’t get the job done.

    • That is similar to what I said above. The first pitch was high and tight, and the ball hit the bat by luck, which put him behind the 8-ball in the AB.

      My guess, not ever having tried it, is that is close to as hard for a lefty to bunt a 99 mph fastball from a lefty, especially having just seen one right under the nostrils, as it is to hit it with a regular swing.

      It wasn’t a great match-up for the Reds. I was rooting for a balk.

      • Next to impossible is what it was! How many lefties did you see try to bunt vs Chapman? Or righties vs Rob Dibble back in the day? If he gets the barrel on the bunt it probably gets to an infielder on the fly! It was a ridiculous call and especially with the way Schebler has been hitting!

    • Schebler has shown the ability to bunt? FSO showed a graphic last night that claimed Schebler had 0 sacrifice bunts in his MLB career.

    • Ok, say Schebler got the bunt down… IBB to Suarez and I work to Peraza and Barnhart.

  13. Regarding the bunt (which I didn’t like)… it really isn’t that bad in relative terms.

    Schebler doesn’t hit lefties very well, and he was facing a nasty, nasty lefty that throws 100 mph. The odds of Schebler doing anything productive in that AB were already pretty low. Maybe Price thought a bunt would be a way to avoid a K and do something productive.

    • Patrick — I’m impressed by your open mindedness, particularly when it’s regarding one of your pet peeves. I’m glad I reserved comment above.

      Kudos.

  14. Trying to make a case for Billy. What is his adjusted OPS when stolen bases are taken into consideration? Subtract one time on base for each caught stealing when calculating OBP. Add one additional base for each stolen base when calculating Slugging Pct.

  15. Did I hear the announcers say that Disco suffered a setback? I think they said his ‘platelet’ treatment is not responding. … And Sal Romano is on the DL as well. Arroyo could stay in the rotation the whole season if the glue and paper clips can keep him going.

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