Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds Take Series, Return to .500

Final R H E
Pittsburgh Pirates (12-16) 2 7 0
Cincinnati Reds (14-14) 4 11 0
W: Adleman (1-1) L: Nova (3-3) S: Iglesias (5)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–I am, of course, a noted Joey Votto fan, but holy cow, he’s something. 2 for 3 with 2 doubles and a walk. His current line is: .270/.375/.610 and he’s only just gotten right. Golly gosh.

Adam Duvall also had 2 hits, including a triple and is hitting .262/.313/.583 and that will absolutely do. Duvall’s skills mean he’s probably going to be feast or famine all the time, but if the average between the two ends up where he is right now, I will never complain.

Arismendy Alcantara certainly took advantage of his start today and went 3 for 3.

Billy Hamilton become just the 12th player ever with 200 steals as a Red.

Tim Adleman. You can’t complain. 6 innings, 2 runs, 5 Ks, 1 BB. I’m probably gonna write a post about him soon.

The Bad
–Not one thing.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–I’ll confess to not having caught every single moment of this game, but I caught most of it and during one part, Marty was rhapsodizing about Joey Votto suddenly being a “power-hitting first baseman.” Oh, Marty.

–The Reds took 3 of 4 from the Pirates and are back to .500. Crazy what happens when you get decent starting pitching. Also, I really do think this is going to be a solid team when all is said and done. There will be bumps, but the trajectory is upward. They’ll be better in September than they are now.

–I don’t mind that Cody Reed was sent down today, though I might be in the minority. I’d like to see him get good and comfortable starting again and then come up to join the rotation.

77 thoughts on “Reds Take Series, Return to .500

  1. I rarely listen to Marty but Iistened to him some last night and he seemed to make so many mistakes.

    • I agree with this. I tend to listen to Reds radio from the start of many games on thru the beat reporters’ 2nd inning sound byte because @Ctrent, @M_sheldon and @zachENQ tend to offer insights and opinions behind what they have written lately.

      I’ve noticed this year in particular that the accuracy of Marty’s game calls seem to have slipped during the time I’ve been listening to the radio while watching the video feed.. Marty is about 7 years older than me. I’ll just say sometimes find that I cannot multitask as fluently as I used to be able to and leave it at that.

  2. Great wrap up Jason, but your comments lead to a question.

    What if Duvall begins to take walks and rounds out to a 340 OBP with the other numbers we are seeing? I mean he is already an All Star, has hit 30 hrs, 100 rbis plays very good defense.

    So now what if he becomes a Votto Disciple and begins to take walks and hones in on swinging at only strikes?

    Maybe he doesn’t and your comment is right. But in this only his 2nd full year, why do we not think he can’t learn the strike zone better? Schebler seems to be doing it

    • When Trumbo was in GABP he missed pitches by a foot that were not even close to strikes. I don’t see that w/Duvall often. His swing is pretty short and compact! The pitchers will start nibbling more but he also has Votto in front of him and Suarez & Schebler behind him! .315-.320 might be achievable at some point?

    • Duvall seems to be who he is…an elite power hitter with lots of K’s and obp at .290-.300. He also is very well suited for GABP. But if he does what you say…that would be a perennial all star. I’ll vote for it.

    • The biggest indicator that he won’t ever really do much better when it comes to taking walks is his performance in MiLB as well as what we’ve seen in MLB. He has never really been one to take many walks. Guys rarely change in that department. I think we could see some marginal improvement there but that’s about it. Duvall is also old enough that changing is even more unlikely. That said, Duvall has big time power and plays good defense. I wasn’t sure he could sustain the power without walking at nor really hit much more than .225 or so but he’s proving me wrong. If this is who Duvall is then that’s just fine by me.That makes the Leake trade a win for the Reds without even factoring in the other players.

    • My immediate eye test response is that Duvall seems to be getting better at running deeper counts; but, it doesn’t seem to consistently get him better results. During his down period that seeming ended with the start of the Pirates series, he got a lot of deep counts but eventually grounded out or hitlazy catchable fly balls/ pop ups.

      If my quick count is correct, he saw a total of 6 pitches in the 2 ABs when got hits and 9 pitches in the 2 ABs when he made outs. His longest AB of the day was the K, which ran to 5 pitches.

  3. Reds record: .500
    Reds record against the Brewers and Pirates: .500
    Reds record against all teams except the Brewers: .619
    Reds record against all teams except the Pirates: .381

    Baseball is weird. Also small samples, but baseball is weird.

    • I think that there is a good point inside these statistics. The Brewers are a pretty good team this year, and I would bet they finish second in the NL Central, if their pitching holds up. The Pirates are a pretty bad team right now, and I would bet that they finish LAST in the NL Central.
      So that leaves the Reds and the Cardinals to fight it out over 3rd and 4th place in the Central. If the Reds starting pitching started to get a lot better, they would vault over the Cardinals. The Cardinals line up is actually nothing to get excited about.

    • In one sense won/ lost results aren’t samples because they are why the games are played.

      I’ve always put stock in comparative results simply because there are a limited number of games and thus a fixed number of wins and losses to be divided up among the teams. With essentially half of all games inside the division, intradivisional records take on even more importance. It doesn’t matter if an opponent is playing better or worse at a different time in the season than when I play them because the wins against them can’t be taken away from me; and, alternatively, I can’t get rid of the losses against them.

  4. Great series win for the Reds! It didn’t look good after Tuesday with Rookie/Adleman versus their 2 best but thats baseball! Adleman doesn’t have much except guts but sometimes that’s enough! The guy just throws strikes and doesn’t nibble!

    • and why can’t Adleman be a part of the rebuild? I get not wanting Feldman or Arroyo but won’t Adelman be under team control 5 more seasons? he would be 34 just heading toward his decline in 2022
      How much better could Ramano, Rookie Davis, or even Stephenson expect to be next year? Not saying he is going to be the next Cueto or even Leake and bring a haul in 2022, but if he can give you 6-7 innings and not cost that much why not use him for 4-5 spot as they sort out who is their 1-3 guys next season.

      • Adleman should not have lost his spot in the rotation based on what he did last year.

        He has been arguably our second best starter this year, better that Sal, Rookie, Bronson, Feldman, behind Amir.

        Let him play this thing out. If he continues to compete, keep sending him out there and tell Stephenson, Davis and Reed to watch him when they pitch.

        C. Trent was musing today about Adleman with Reed’s stuff.

        The headline at MLB Reds says it best with it’s article: “Adleman Leads…”

        • Adleman has 16 ML starts & 7 of them quality starts. In all 3 starts vs Pittsburgh Tim has gone 6 innings & given up only 2 runs. He’s a reliable, inexpensive innings eater. He should never have been sent to Louisville.

      • I agree on Adleman, big56dog! You are correct, they have five years of control over him after this year. If he were to continue to pitch as he has so far this season and last, he’s at least a number five starter on any team you want to name. If there are five better major league starting pitchers in the organization, I would welcome them to step forward and prove it.

        • and to add to my point, the advantage is that you can develop one more arm in AAA- theoretically Reed could not even use up his 1st year this season if he stays down now long enough. Not sure if all these guys work out, you want them all going to arbitration at the same time …curious does a 31-32 yo coming off a season with 3.90 ERA as a starter earn the same as a 27-28 yo with similar stats?

    • [i]The guy just throws strikes and doesn’t nibble![/i]

      And that alone makes him a better choice than almost any other pitcher in the Reds’ organization right now. I don’t care that Sal, Reed, Stephenson, Rookie, whoever have the nastiest, filthiest, dirtiest stuff in the world, if they can’t put it over the plate, the other team can just go up there and give themselves a nice shoulder massage with their bat while they wait to get their free passes to first base.

      I would take Adleman as a #4-#5 starter until(if?) someone else proves they deserve the spot more.

  5. Where would this team be were it not for the Disco and Finnegan injuries?

    Votto is otherworldly but perhaps Suarez and duvall are giving Votto some protection and more opportunities?

    Schedule hasn’t been easy either.

    • Votto has been otherworldly without Suarez and Duvall offering protection. Votto is amazing regardless of who bats around him

      • Votto is amazing…but he’s struggled the last 2 springs…and part of that is opponents keying in him…refusing to pitch to him…. and adjusting to that…. Absolutely who bats around you and where you bat in the lineup determine how you are pitched. Votto is hitting for power early in the season in 2010-2014…

        • Lineup protection has pretty much been shown to have no real effect. Do a Google search, there is plenty of literature on it.

          • Thank you, Patrick. Every time the conversation takes this turn, I keep expecting someone to bring this up, but nobody ever does.

          • It’s weird too. When playing, it sure feels like who is hitting in front of you and who is hitting behind you makes a difference. In certain situations, it pretty much has to make a difference. There have been times that I knew I was getting a fastball in a certain count because I just knew the pitcher didn’t want to walk me and face the guy behind me with more folks on base. There were other times when I knew I may not get a good pitch to hit because 1B was open and there was a pretty inferior bat hitting behind me. Maybe the data feels so counter-intuitive to people like me because although it makes a difference at lower levels, even semi-pro or perhaps MiLB levels, MLB is just so far advanced that the lineup protection doesn’t skew the numbers enough to make a significant difference. This is one of those things that as a player and old-school person, I have conflicts with my analytical side because what I felt while playing all those years just wasn’t reflected in the hard data. Makes ya think.

  6. I am also alright with Reed going to AAA. There is still time for him to develop. I get that it would be optimal if he was doing it in a MLB rotation, but I just have to think that the FO has a plan and it will all make sense eventually

    • IS there any pattern that successful pitchers take thru their minor league development?.. Arroyo had around 400 innings at AAA, my belief tends to be guys that struggle 1st year in and again next year at the big league level never really get it. They at least can give you some Arroyo type starts get thru 6 innings, I think Reed had one last season (against the Cards), Stephenson actually had 3 decent ones and then was awful the remainder of Sept (but might have been over worked)

      • Reed looked great in a couple of his relief appearances. There is something about his motion or arm angle that must be difficult for him to repeat and control. When it works, his pitches can be really nasty and hard to hit.

  7. Marty was rhapsodizing about Joey Votto suddenly being a “power-hitting first baseman.”

    I heard this. MB got around to opining that Votto was hitting HRs and racking up RBIs but didn’t seem to be walking much. Cowboy jumped right in with, don’t worry if he keeps hitting like he is the walks will soon be coming (paraphrased but very close to exact quote).

    • And his walk rate, after taking almost no walks to start the year (and not hitting for average) is almost where his career mark is. I’ve always loved Marty but he does a lot of talking as an expert on things that he really doesn’t know much about. He is walking less but his walk rate suggests that he’s still walking more than “doesn’t seem to be walking much”

    • Marty wants his homers and RBIs,.. Has anybody else noticed this? It seems to me that Joey is getting a lot more close ball-and-strike calls in his favor these days. (And yes, I know he got a bad call in the 9th inning the other night.) But I’m wondering if the umps aren’t maybe giving him a bit more respect these days, too….

      • Yep. It seems that Marty doesn’t consider someone a power hitter unless they jack 30 HRs a year, even though Joey has ~25 HRs, ~30 2Bs, and a .500+ SLG every year.

        I still love to listen to Marty for his great play-by-play calling (even if he’s starting to slip) and think his interaction with Brantley can be downright hilarious at times. But his commentary is simply ill-informed way too often.

        • Even more crazy… Joey has hit 29 HR the last two seasons… if he hit 1 more, Marty would probably have a wildly different view.

          Arbitrary end points are arbitrary. Too bad Marty doesn’t understand that.

          • With Brennaman, it’s all about the RBIs. Entirely. He thinks Votto passes up opportunities to drive in runs by taking walks. He looks at this year’s RBI total and concludes Votto is trying to drive in runs. Just before he made that statement, he talked about Votto’s walk rate not being in the top 10 in the league, even though it’s not that far below his average. Plus we’re talking about small numbers.

  8. Great stuff Jason! I always love reading your game recaps! However, I was just looking at Joey Votto’s current stats, right before reading your recap and noticed that you shortchanged him slightly. His current line is actually: .270/.375/.610. How dare you gyp him out of 10 points OBP. Just kidding, of course, Thanks for your great work!

  9. I don’t see any reason that Tim Adleman couldn’t be at least ‘average’ and an inning eater type starter. His stuff isn’t all that much different than say Mike Leake, even if they are the same age. There are quite a few guys that also didn’t figure it out and get productive as a starter until their late 20s. The job is Adelman’s to win or lose. If he doesn’t produce, he will have a short leash. We will see how it goes, looks like he got the job done today.

  10. On an unrelated note, I was looking at NL 1B today and realized Votto again won’t make the All-Star team.

    Rizzo will make it because Cubs, Thames and Zimmerman are good chances if they continue any sort of production resembling their starts, and then you’ve still got Goldschmidt lurking.

    • And don’t forget Freddie Freeman. Guy has been otherworldly, has a 217wRC+, is walking a ton and not striking out much, and his BABIP isn’t that elevated compared to his career norms.

      This is his age 27 season, so he’s just entering his prime. His .411 ISO isn’t going to hold up, but I’ll bet he’s definitely going to be in the conversation for the All-Star team.

      • Yeah, that’s the guy I missed… I was making the list thinking “I know I’m forgetting someone.” It was Freddie. Thanks!

    • He might have 30 HRs at the all star break. It is all about the HR in the all star game

    • I might be the only one but who cares about the all-star? Players don’t even give 100% and the stats don’t really matter. The only stat that matters in the all-star game is the W and ticket sales..

      • No one cares, but the point is Votto has been the best hitting player in the NL over the last 2+ years and has 0 ASG and 0 Silver Slugger.

        It’s odd. And a running theme on Twitter at times.

        And there is one vein that people SHOULD care, and that’s the HOF voters. They care about stupid stuff like that.

        I’d love to see Votto in the HOF (if he ends up deserving), but some voters won’t vote for him if he’s got 3 ASG appearances to his name.

        Also, I want to buy a Votto ASG jersey. 😉

        • Patrick, I have the perfect antidote for the lack of ASG appearances. A World Series MVP! That would greatly influence voting.

        • I really want to see Votto in the All-Star Game just as much as you, especially for the future HOF boost. But just FYI: Bagwell was only a 4-time All-Star and he’s now in the HOF, because he also had 6 top-10 MVP seasons and 1 MVP.

          Votto is a 4-time All-Star with 5 top-10 MVP seasons (and probably a few more in him), and 1 MVP. While he doesn’t have Bagwell’s power or speed, Votto should finish his career with a higher BA and OBP.

          • 80 WAR, 1500 RBI, 449 HR. Votto likely won’t hit any of those measures.

            But you’re right. Bagwell is a decent comp.

  11. Great to see 5plus innings out of the starters 3 out of four games, especially Rookie….Gennet fields better than I expected. Made a nice play on a poor throw to second from Peraza to avoid potential trouble…Agree with all above about Adleman…Disappointed in Reed but it’s a good move to AAA at this point. Hope to see him again when he regains his command…REAL happy to see Devo hit his first dinger. He’s starting to shake the rust off, which is exciting…Pirates TV guys commented on Arroyo as being a great influence for our young staff. I’ve noticed a lot of conversations between Bronson and our other pitchers in the dugout…I don’t know, but does anyone else think Schebler could turn into a monster?

  12. Great win today to get back to 500.It was one of those grind it out type of games where you really never felt as a fan we were home free.Got to win more of those then you lose because they add up in a long long season.Aldeman pitched well but just like the rest of the guys starting,I expect at best 5 or 6 innings and keeping us in the game.However just like everybody else we will get the 3 or 4 inning games and give up a bunch of runs just as often.Its not a knock on anybody its just who they are.The Reds of the future which I hope starts next year doesn’t really include anybody starting now except Garrett.If Homer,Disco and Finny were pitching every 5th day along with whoever else is at 4 and 5 we would be sooooooooo much better.With the pen we have now we could close out most games if we lead after 6 or 7 innings.Some may disagree but while we have struggled the last couple of year in the pitching department I don’t see that as our biggest flaw once everybody is healthy.Lot of ifs I know.

  13. Adleman looked decent, but the Pirates are a weak offensive team, frankly. His next turn is against the Yankees next week, I think. So we will see.

    Depending on the course of Disco and Homer recovering, I would also think that Sal Romano will get another promotion in June, depending on who is up and who is down. Rookie Davis did a good job the other night (against a weak offensive team), but if he doesn’t pick it up some, he could end up going back down. Tyler Mahle is knocking on the door at AA, too. He has literally been lights out in AA so far this year.

  14. I understand that the shortcomings from this team early has been pitching as a blanket statement I usually don’t make! I will point out the trouble with this team is hitting or lack there of! I should have phrased that as lack of consistent hitting! I will point out todays game was the season in a nutshell, the lack of pitches seen and OBP is in direct proportion in most cases! I will say today the 2 worst examples on the team did so-so! They normally hit at the top of the order and should see at least 50 percent more pitches than they are seeing! JV and Suarez see a lot of pitches and look at their OBP and it is a bigger thing when you look at JV’s BA from his slow start! The hitters that are good to great hit STRIKES the people stealing time in the major league uniform swing at what the pitcher throws!

  15. A nice game today with contributions from some unexpected places (Adelman, Alcantara), from a newly and excitingly reliable place (the Bullpen!), and from the big bats (Votto, Duvall). Votto in particular looks like he’s getting locked in. Saw the Pirates feed (no Reds TV) and they were raving about Nova and eager to see him pitch to Votto. When he went 3-2 just before Votto’s double they were saying how rare even a 3 ball count has been for Nova this year, and then were very impressed with Votto’s at bats. I love what I’m seeing from him right now. Welcome back to .500 Reds! Also – put me down as glad to see Reed sent to AAA. He needs consistent innings to build up his confidence and fine tune a consistent release point. I’m still very optimistic about him.

  16. I’m still a big Cody Reed fan. This is the right thing for him and the Reds. Start getting regular innings, get stretched out and regain control. I think he’s an eventual starter in the rotation

    • I don’t think Cody Reed is a Sandy Koufax in the making, but Koufax did have trouble in the beginning finding the strike zone. Pitchers, left handers especially, need time to mature as ML pitchers.

  17. I had high hopes for a Reed based on the hype following the Cueto trade. Unfortunately he can not throw strikes or locate pitches with any consistency. His stuff is hittible when it occasionally appears in the strike zone. Aldleman,with much less velocity and hype, is a much better pitcher. I see him pitching many more MLB innings than Reed going forward. Stephenson has Reed disease also….no idea how to locate his pitches. The good news is there will be more pitchers coming though the system and I bet we will see better than Reed and Stephenson. .

    • I like Adleman but you just don’t give up on 23 year old left handed pitchers with 3 pitches who can throw 96 mph

      You trade for guys like that

      Reed will pitch plenty in the show. I would not put your 401k behind the notion that Reed will not pitch more than Adleman go forward

      • I agree with this. And besides, wasn’t Adleman pitching in independent leagues at some point? Sometimes it takes time for a player to get it together.

  18. Just thinking outloud. Logan Forsythe, 2nd baseman for the Dodgers isn’t getting healthy anytime soon. They say that means Chase Utley will be playing 2nd for the Dodgers & he’s batting about .100. I happen to know where the Dodgers can find a lh hitting 2nd baseman with some pop in his bat. The Dodgers have some nice prospects in their top 10 or so. I wonder if they might be interested in Scooter?

  19. I am ok with Reed going back down… Seems like he needed it to clear his head and get comfortable starting again. I am not sold on him yet being MLB ready Hopefully he can turn it around in the minors and will be back soon.

  20. Got to see a couple of nice plays by Alcantara in 2B, good arm and went far into CF in one of those, coupled with a 3-3 at bat. Maybe he just needs more playing time to show what he can do.

  21. Just want to say that I agree 100%with CARL SAYRE.I also believe the starting pitching will eventually get fixed,either later this year or next year,but the real thing that will haunt this team is as he said is a lack of consistent hitting or specifically the table setters at the top of the order.All that is needed to verify the point is to just look at the box score of every team we play and zero in on their OBP.Untill all of our guys get up in the 320’s or 330’s or better we will have games that we lose where we come away scratching our heads and asking why.I certainly hope this is a point that we are teaching in the minors.

  22. Nice article over at mlbtr by Jeff Todd on Zack Cozart.

    https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2017/05/free-agent-stock-watch-zack-cozart.html

    Is Peraza a better SS than Cozart? Can the Reds afford a short extension with Cozart? Would Cozart accept a short deal as opposed to trying to hit the free agent lottery with a long term deal? What value would Cozart bring in return to a trade? The trade market can be fickle.
    Contenders with problems at 2B-TOR (.157BA), LAA (.155), NYM (.220), TEX (.196), DET (.206).
    The NYM have Neil Walker on a 1 year deal. DET has Ian Kinsler on last year of deal with team option for next year. And TEX just gave Odor a large extension.
    Contenders with problems at SS-BAL (.206), KC (.189), PIT (.220), COL (.170), SEA (.225), DET (.227), STL (.236), and NYM (.248).
    The market is opening up a bit at SS, which is good to see. Many contenders with a need makes for a better bidding environment for the Reds.

    • Interesting. Questions!

      Which of those teams will be buyers? Yes to Baltimore/Colorado/Detroit/NYM.

      Of the NL teams, are the Reds as good as the Mets and Colorado, who we may battle for a wild card berth?

      If yes, then why trade Cozy to either?

      • I think it is a stretch to project the Reds being in the wildcard picture as any more than a distant afterthought. There is no reason to believe the starting pitching is going to stabilize let alone get better any time soon. Bailey is not projected back until late June or early July and Desclafani seems to be a month, at best, behind him. I’m guessing if the Reds end up getting as much as 2 solid months out of either of them in 2017, they will have beaten the odds.

        • With the Reds four plus weeks into the season and sitting at .500 I have a glimmer of hope for a wildcard come Sept. Starting pitching is unsettled for sure, but I’m encouraged by the offense and certainly the relief corps is a pleasant surprise from last year.

    • Seattle has Jean Segura so I don’t know why they are on the list. Truth be told, absent injury I don’t see anyone that you listed as a fit outside of maybe the Mets, and they have Amed Rosario in AAA.

      • Right you are about Segura, CP. I was looking at Fangraphs this morning and used the qualified setting for PA’s for SS’s. Then I whittled it down to 70 PA’s and Segura wasn’t listed this morning, but this afternoon is listed with 79 PA’s. They had Taylor Motter for Seattle at .225 with 78 PA’s. He had filled in for Segura while he was injured. Segura is at .329 so that knocks out SEA.
        At 21, the NYM might not want to rush Rosario, though he is blistering hot at AAA. Those darn service time issues and such. If Walker continues his struggles into late June, maybe they make a move or 2. Just think, a possible combo of Cozart and Frazier manning the Mets left side of the INF the last 2 months + of 2017. It just depends on what the NYM want to do.

  23. Injury bug is biting STL hard again.
    STL has lost 2/3 of their starting OF. (golf clap)
    Piscotty to the DL with a hamstring strain. Those can tend to linger.
    Fowler is feared to have the more severe injury to his shoulder. Don’t ever like to hear shoulder injury in baseball.
    I don’t know if the Reds will be able to take advantage of this on the field since they don’t play STL again until June 5th. However, STL is heading into a very tough stretch of their schedule. Until they meet the Reds on June 5th, the Cards have 7 games vs. LAD, 7 vs. SF, 6 vs. CHCubs, 2 vs. BOS, 3 vs. COL, 3 vs. ATL and 3 vs. MIA. The Cards could very well be in last place in the NLC when they next meet up with the Reds.

  24. Does Mat Latos meet the definition of journeyman pitcher? DFA’d by Toronto today. Dang the bad luck. I can hear a chorus of “Gloom, Despair, and Agony On Me” warming up.

    • You know, the Reds may well have looked at bringing him back had he not completely incinerated that bridge when he first left Cincy.

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