2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds get homer happy in win over Pittsburgh

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-15) 2 5 0
Cincinnati Reds (13-14) 7 10 1
W: Davis (1-1) L: Taillon (2-1)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–Tonight started much the same as last night’s game. Fortunately, it ended much differently.

Zack Cozart singled with one out, and Joey Votto followed with a walk. Eugenio Suarez blasted a three-run home run to left field, and the Reds were quickly up 3-0. Suarez was 1-3 with a walk on the evening; he’s now hitting .322/.408/.611. It was his 6th homer of the season.

–In the fourth inning, with the Redlegs still up 3-0, Jose Peraza led off with a single to center. Devin Mesoraco was hit by a pitch, and Rookie Davis bunted the runners over. Then Billy Hamilton did exactly what you would expect him to do:

Yes, he hit a three-run home run. Over the fence, even. It was Billy’s first homer since last June, and it gave the Reds a 6-0 lead.

–In the sixth inning, Mesoraco hit a home run of his own. That was Devin’s first homer since 2014!

–Rookie Davis picked up his first big league victory with five innings of shutout baseball. Davis allowed four hits and three walks, threw 92 pitches, and was kinda working in and out of trouble all evening long — he left the bases loaded in the second and the fourth. But the kid got his first win, and we’ll take it, since he’d been struggling to this point in his Rookie season. Good to get that first one. Congrats, rook.

–Jose Peraza was 3-4 with a double and a run scored. Nights like these have been few and far between, so that was nice to see.

–Adam Duvall was 2-4 with a double.

–Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias each pitched perfect innings. Yawn. This is getting repetitive.

–Joey Votto was 1-2 with two walks and a run scored. He also fouled a ball off his ankle, and he looked to be in some serious pain, but Votto stayed in the game.

The Bad
–Cody Reed pitched two innings in relief of the Rookie, and it wasn’t the sharp Reed that we’ve seen out of the bullpen thus far in 2017. Reed gave up both Pittsburgh runs on one hit — a two-run Andrew McCutchen homer — and four walks. He didn’t strike out a hitter.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Nice bounce-back win after a bad game yesterday. That’s five wins in six games against the Pirates.

–Gotta be happy for Mesoraco. His swing looks pretty good to me (and I’m an expert on that subject.*) It’s been such a long road for the guy, and he’s worked so hard to get back. I really enjoyed his post-game interview. You could tell he was incredibly happy to be in the big leagues again.

–Eugenio Suarez is good. As I told you in my weekly column for Cincinnati Magazine. It’s time to give him some respect.

–This is completely anecdotal at this point, but doesn’t Votto’s defense look better so far this season? This spring, Votto was somewhat vocal about the fact that he recognized that he had slipped with the glove last year, and that he intended to work on improving that aspect of his game.

I dunno, maybe I’m just seeing what I want to see…that’s why the eye test is so unreliable. On the other hand:

–Reds and Buccos will play tomorrow afternoon, with the good guys having a chance to (a) take three of four in this series, and (b) get back to .500.

go reds

*I’m not an expert on that subject. I hit something like .250 in little league.

Today’s Tweets

26 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: Reds get homer happy in win over Pittsburgh

  1. I haven’t posted on here since probably the middle of 2015, but have been a loyal reader since 2010…like, everyday reader. Thank you Chad and Steve, whose picture I totally agree with, and to everyone else that writes for or frequents this site (looking at you lw and Cossack). This year is fun. The Reds are fun again. Bronson is rough, but honest (as always) and fun. This is just a post to confirm that our favorite sports team is fun again, if not in wins than at least growth. And that makes me a very happy human. Also, can’t remember that guy’s handle that has CBJ as his profile pick, but an extra high five to you bud. Torts rocks, but like the Stupid Cubs before, maybe a year too early on that one. Mad love for the Jackets though. Can’t wait to become a regular here again guys, GO REDS!

    • Hey Tourniquette! Thanks for the shout out and I’m in full agreement that this season has become fun again, a lot of fun. There will certainly be ups and downs with frustration mixed in with the elation, but that adds to the fun and the expectation of better things to come.

    • Gotta love fellow CBJ fans… Jim Walker (one of the writers here) is also a big CBJ fan. The guy you’re thinking of with the old CBJ logo as his avatar pic is Cl3J I believe.

  2. I love the slo-mo replays of Hamilton’s hits. He seems to have a genuine look of surprise and happiness every time he squares a ball up.

  3. Nice bounce back win tonite against a pretty talented pitcher! Everyone looked good except Reed. I don’t know what to think about him? Bob Steve is perpetually struggling but he will give you some “Wow” moments when he drops a big curve on someone but Reed rarely does. Everything he throws is straight, one speed more or less and above the belt! His slider is rarely a strike and rarely looks good enough for them to chase. The only way he can get better is to pitch more….either with the Reds or Lville. I think I’m actually higher on Bob Steve though and I’m not high on him. Rookie competed and if he can get the slider over more then he might be ok. Everyone is scoring a ton across the league so we’re not the only team w/struggling pitchers! Good win though and glad to see Billy & Peraza both contribute!

  4. Love the focus on the players performance instead of the growing yarn of second guessing every single thing Williams and Price to. Great write Chad. You are the bomb.

    I am also somewhat pleasantly surprised by Mesoraco’s performance so far. Maybe the minor league stats mean nothing at all? I seriously thought that Devin was done as a Red. Now what do we do with 3 catchers? I’m liking Stuart quite a bit but even I realize with the majority of our starters unable to go deep that keeping 3 catchers is impractical. What are the odds that the Reds trade Tucker?

    • ” Evaluating” every decision a manager and GM make in real time is extremely productive and accurate. Given that fans tend to have all of the information that a manager and GM have, it makes complete sense to mark to market their ability play by play, inning by inning.
      Since most fans are completely informed, calm and rationale we don’t see huge swings in opinion from game to game. When the rebuilding Reds started off hot there wasn’t an over reaction. When they returned to their happy medium, it was all completely understood.

      • The Reds won! The Reds will never lose again!*

        *opinion subject to change on the basis of the first three pitches of the next game

    • Trade Tucker? I’d be surprised. They won’t have Mes after this season and Turner doesn’t seem to be much of a hitter.

      • Until after 18

        This is year 3 of his deal, so you have Meso next year as well. Glad he is healthy

        I let this play out this year and see what happens. He is such a weapon

    • As Patrick tweeted, Tucker is the absolute perfect backup catcher, so I imagine a lot of decisions will be made based on how well Stephenson and Okey can develop. I would love to keep Tucker as a backup to one of those guys

  5. I thought coming out of spring last year, Reed was going to be an Amir Garrett, one year earlier. Now I am not sure he is going to even make it at all.

    • Reed hasn’t pitched in days. I think he was just too strong, and couldn’t find a good release point so his control stunk. The guy is not trying to be lousy, but he needs to work more than he has in the last week.

      • Was that his excuse last year as well? Sooner or later we will have to stopaking excuses for Reeds performance. He can either pitch in the big leagues or not. So far…… NOT

        • Well, basically that was what Chris Welch was saying last night. I didn’t hear anything about what Cody Reed said.

        • He’ll either learn to pitch in the big leagues or not. He has the raw stuff and lacks experience. Too early to give up on him.

  6. You guys are right this team is fun again. They are fun again bc we have a good bullpen again. Suarez is a future All-Star and Duvall is awesome!!! Time to get back to .500!!

  7. I remember the quote from Joey when he talked about how Mike Trout makes him want to be better at every part of the game and he wanted to focus on it. It is pretty cool to see Joey put his mind to something and just go out and do it

  8. Good win by the good guys.Suarez is a keeper with his hitting and ability to get on base but he has really really improved on defense at third.Love playing young guys because of the upside that they bring.I won’t give up on Reed and Stephesen until they take the ball every 5th day and get 15 to 20 starts to show or not show they belong as a starter.Untill then we will analyze every relief appearance which means very little regarding their ability to start in the big leagues.Davis competed last night and that’s all you can ask for.

    • Right now, the Reds defense is elite, across the board. With the continued improvement by Suarez from the 2nd half of last season, the renewed commitment by Votto this season, the healthy and consistently excellent performance by Cozart, the slick glove by Peraza, the other-worldly performance by Hamilton, the steady performance by Duvall, the effort and speed by Schebler and the combination of Tucker, Turner and a healthy Mesoraco, the Old Cossack would stack up the Reds defense against any and all comers.

      The play by Votto last night was simply sick, reminiscent of his defensive excellence from 6 years ago and he has had multiple such flashes this season. I’ve never seen a player so commited to his craft and capable of turning that commitment into sheer excellence.

  9. The Old Cossack simply doesn’t understand the plan or utilization of Reed and Stephenson. If management (DW? BP?) feels that Reed and Stephenson are incapable of pitching at the major league level, then why are they on the 25-man roster? If management feels that Stephenson and Reed are capable of pitching at the major league level, but aren’t sure if their role will be starting or relief, then why aren’t they used consistently in one role or the other to make that determination? If management isn’t sure if Reed and Stephenson are capable of pitching at the major league level, then why aren’t the pitching with the opportunity to prove (or disprove) themselves at the major league level? If management believes that Reed and Stephenson are capable of pitching at the major league level, but do not want to let them prove that capability right now, then why aren’t they using other relievers to fill the need in the major league bullpen rather than having Reed and Stephenson simply sitting and twiddling their thumbs while they wait for a rare, undefined chance for game action. This ‘go sit in the bullpen and we’ll call you if no one else is available for the situation’ attitude just baffles me.

    • Either Price or Williams said at the beginning of the season that they didn’t think Reed and Stephenson had anything left to do in AAA, and they were going to use the bullpen as a soft landing place for them to gain some major league experience without much pressure. I think Price is executing the plan determined by Dick Williams. And I think the plan was determined by Dick Williams, because until this year, I’ve always heard Price talk about the best way to develop pitchers was as starters so they get lots of repetition on their pitches and learn to command them. Then move them to the bullpen if they can’t develop the repertoire needed to be a starter.

      It’s confounding to us as fans, and we may vehemently disagree with it, but the Reds stated it up front and have stuck to it. We’ll see if it works or not.

  10. Last year, I was keeping a pretty close eye on Reed and Stephenson at AAA. My mind’s eye memory was that while Stephenson’s lackluster performance drew the most negative attention, Reed actually was not pitching as well himself in the last 2-3 weeks before he was called up as he had in the first 6 weeks or so of the season. I just ran the numbers on Reed; and my recollection seems reasonably accurate.

    In his first seven starts at AAA (thu May 24, 2016) in 40.2IP, Reed’s ERA was 2.21, his BB rate was 5.6% (1.99/9 innings), his HR rate was 1.3% (0.45/9 innings) and his WHIP was 1.03. In these 7 games he had an in game ERA > 3 only twice.

    In his last four starts at AAA before being called up, in 24IP, Reed’s ERA was 4.88, his BB rate was 7.6% (3.0/9 innings), his HR rate was 3.8% (1.5/9 innings) and his WHIP was 1.42. In these 4 games he had an in game ERA > 3 three times.

    I chose the split point used because Reed had consecutive games on May 29 and and June 3 of 2016 that are reminiscent of his poor MLB starts since with in game ERAs of 6.0 and 9.0. His next start was somewhat better but still not up to snuff (3.86 in game ERA); and then, his final start before being called up mirrored his first 7 starts of the season (1.50 in game ERA).

    Perhaps these figures represent a normal regression process. They could also suggest that whatever has happened with Reed was underway before he even reached MLB.

  11. Two observations from being there last night and sitting closer than I generally sit…

    Observation 1 – Mesoraco gets some flack for his defense behind the plate and some of it is deserved but, I LOVE the way he handles pitchers. On his trips to the mound he is much more assertive and animated than Barnhart (who I love!). I honestly believe that his leadership behind the dish will help the young pitchers some. Every time he made a trip to the mound, his message seemed to be received. He also was obviously pumped each time Davis got out of a jam.

    Observation 2 – A fun observation was right after Hamilton made contact, it was pretty obvious that he’d hit the ball a long way and that it would likely stay fair. Seems like me, my father, and everyone sitting around us paying attention let out a collective and excited “OH!!!” I don’t think Hamilton could hit a ball any harder.

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