“Now I think we’re at the point where we’ve got a 40-man roster full of young exciting players. … You’re using young players you think are going to be part of your future. … Instead of doing what we were doing last year, where you’re trying to plug in with … the guys who were really just here a short period of time, as warm bodies. … Now we’re figuring out which of these young guys will be part of the next core. To find that out, we’ve got to let them play.”
– Dick Williams, Redleg Nation Podcast #165 (at 9:56)
Scott Feldman, spotted a 3-0 lead, gave up seven runs in four innings. He struck out three and walked two. The damage would have been worse were it not for a heads up play by Zack Cozart to cut down a Pirate runner at third base. Feldman’s ERA is now 4.83.
Feldman’s mediocrity should not be a surprise to anyone who can read a FanGraphs player page. He started four games last year before the Houston Astros moved him to the pen. None of those was as bad as Feldman’s start tonight.
If 34-year-old Scott Feldman doesn’t meet Dick Williams’ definition of warm body, it’s hard to imagine why.
Blake Wood entered the game with two outs in the 7th inning, relieving Robert Stephenson. Wood walked the first three batters he faced, including the Pirates’ #8 and #9 hitters, the latter of whom was a pitcher. Wood threw two wild pitches (one, that bounced in the dirt, was scored a passed ball out of pity for Wood) that each allowed a run to score. Wood also did a lousy job covering home plate, for the record.
Wood, at age 31, comes awfully close to falling into the warm body category. He is one of the many Reds with a double-digit walk rate. His ERA is 5.06 despite the hard-to-believe fact that he didn’t give up an earned run of his own tonight.
It’s May and Bronson Arroyo, Tim Adleman and Feldman remain in the Reds rotation. None of the three are part of the club’s future.
If Dick Williams meant what he said, Cody Reed, Robert Stephenson and Michael Lorenzen would be starting regularly, like Amir Garrett. Players like Barrett Astin, Ariel Hernandez, Lisalverto Bonilla, Rookie Davis and others would also be receiving opportunity.
Can they do the job at the major league level?
“To find that out, we’ve got to let them play.”
Meanwhile, Joey Votto murdered a baseball. Votto’s first-inning homer plated three runs after Billy Hamilton and Zack Cozart had walked.
Unfortunately, after that blast the Reds bats went quiet against Pirates pitching.