2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds comeback effort falls short, losing streak reaches five

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (19-20) 5 9 1
Chicago Cubs (20-19) 7 6 0
W: Kyle Hendricks (3-2)  L: Scott Feldman (2-4) SV: Wade Davis (9)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score | Game Thread | Statcast

The Hitters

Zack Cozart really wants a donkey, doesn’t he?

He continued his outstanding season, going 3-for-5 at the plate. Billy Hamilton led the game off with a single, stole second base, and scored on a single by Cozart to give the Reds an early lead (which didn’t last long — more on that later).

In the third inning, the Reds’ shortstop blasted a solo home run into the left field bleachers, giving him a home run in five straight games at Wrigley Field.

The tale of the tape (the wind miiiiight have helped this one a little bit):

Down 7-2, the offense struck again in the seventh inning, breaking the 18-inning scoreless streak of Cubs reliever Mike Montgomery. Cozart got the two-out rally started with a single. Joey Votto then drew a walk, and Adam Duvall followed with a line-drive single into left to score Cozart.

Eugenio Suarez was unfazed by a pitching change, sending a two-run double into the left-center field gap to reduce the Cubs’ lead to 7-5.

Unfortunately, the comeback effort fell short. The Reds didn’t manage a baserunner in the final two innings (although they probably should’ve; the game ended on a very questionable replay review to rob Votto of an infield single).

The Hurlers

For a second straight night, a Reds veteran starting pitcher was knocked around by the Cubs offense. Scott Feldman, though he wasn’t beaten by home runs like Bronson Arroyo on Tuesday night, couldn’t build on the momentum from his previous two starts. He lasted only 2 2/3 innings, allowing seven runs (five earned) on five hits. He struck out four and walked three.

He had a disastrous second frame, allowing five runs to put his team in a four-run deficit it would not overcome. The right-hander’s command was all over the place, as he gave up three walks and hit a batter in addition to allowing three singles in the inning.

Bryan Price sent him back out for the third, and things did not improve — although it wasn’t all Feldman’s fault. Ben Zobrist laced a double to start the inning. Feldman struck out the next batter and should’ve had the second out against Miguel Montero; however, Duvall dropped a fly ball in left field to put runners at second and third. (In Duvall’s defense, the wind was blowing hard — as it typically does in Chicago — but it was still a catchable ball.)

Then, Cubs skipper Joe Maddon showed why he’s regarded as one of the best managers in the game. He called for a safety squeeze with pitcher Kyle Hendricks at the plate in a 3-2 count, and it worked beautifully. Feldman faced one more hitter, allowing an RBI single to make it a 7-2 game before he was removed from the game.

As has been the case in many games this season, the bullpen kept the Reds in it.

Austin Brice was once again solid in relief. He threw 2 1/3 perfect innings, with six of his seven outs coming on the ground (the other was a strikeout). Brice has allowed only one run in nine innings this season. With the way Luis Castillo is throwing in Double-A, that Dan Straily trade is looking might good right now.

Drew Storen tossed a scoreless sixth inning, inducing a double play after giving up an infield single. Wandy Peralta continued his dominance in the seventh, striking out one in a perfect inning. (Shameless plug alert: I have a piece about him coming out tomorrow, so keep an eye out for that.)

The eighth was a little more rocky. Raisel Iglesias walked three hitters to load the bases but struck out the side to cap off 5 1/3 shutout innings from the bullpen.

Not-So-Random Thoughts

– Turns out Cozart’s feat of homering in five straight games at Wrigley is a pretty rare one.

Can he set the record tomorrow?

– With a walk in the fifth inning, Votto reached base for the 20th consecutive game. That’s decent.

– Speaking of Votto, Patrick Jeter wrote an excellent piece on the Reds’ first baseman today. Go check it out.

– #VoteCozart

– #VoteVotto

What’s Next?

The Reds will try to avoid a sweep as they wrap up their three-game series with the Cubs on Thursday afternoon at 2:20 p.m. ET. After a brief stay in the minor leagues due to innings and service time concerns, Amir Garrett (4.25 ERA, 4.59 xFIP) will take the mound for Cincinnati, looking to build on his strong rookie season. He’ll be opposed by Cubs ace Jon Lester (3.45 ERA, 3.62 xFIP).

34 thoughts on “Reds comeback effort falls short, losing streak reaches five

  1. That call was horrid. This starting pitching is the worst I’ve ever seen. When will this franchise put a contender on the field again? I’m losing patience.

    • You just hit the nail on the head: Starting Pitching…or lack-thereof.

      • And once again, three of the five projected starters at the beginning of the year are on the DL, two of them on the 60 day DL. Thus, the starting pitching is pretty awful but what do you expect? You may lose patience but it’s not going to change the reality of the injury situation.

        • Actually its all three on the 60 day list, As of a couple of days ago, Finnegan joined Bailey and Disco to clear a 40 man spot for the waiver claim guy they optioned to AAA.

          Here is my frustration and complaint. This is the second year they’ve found themselves in the very same mess. What were they thinking in their offseason planning?

          Did they really think Bailey was going to be back capable of pitching regularly and deeply into games from the get go? The Enquirer ran a piece well ahead of spring training in which Bailey was, in retrospect, sounding the warning alarms. He was quoted as saying that his elbow did not feel normal; he guessed that anymore there was no normal; but, that he was soldering along. Then there is Arroyo who such as he is has answered the bell every time he has been asked too. Yet he was a last minute flyer longshot add in.

          And finally there is my biggest frustration. They have seemed to totally backed away from the two guys they spent the most time and effort developing last season, Reed and Stephenson. I’ll concede what happened to Reed last year in MLB was brutal; and, he was just as bad in his (one) MLB start this season. However, Stephenson for all the kicking around he gets, wasn’t a total disaster. He looked a lot like Bailey to even Cueto looked at similar stages in their careers; yet, he seems to have totally disappeared except for mop up roles..

          • I agree with everything you said here. Look, injuries to Disco and FInnegan were unexpected but they needed a legit insurance policy for Bailey. Maybe that was Feldman? The most frustrating thing though, I’d have to agree, is the handling of Stephenson and Reed this year. Maybe Reed will be back but basically relegating Stephenson to the pen with all the rotation injuries this team has suffered makes no sense to me. He likely wouldn’t have done any worse that Davis or Romano have done. He also likely wouldn’t be much worse than how Arroyo has been. A pitcher with command issues should be on a routine in a rebuilding/sorting season. See if MLB coaches can straighten him out on this level. You don’t and really can’t work on the side as a reliever because you never know when you’ll get the call. That and not stretching out Lorenzen to start are the two most frustrating things to me. The Reds have flat said it has nothing to do with injury concerns. Well, then it makes no sense to keep him in the pen just because in his first year of starting he struggled and he had success out of the pen.

          • Reed got the start for Louisville today in one of their AAA late morning getaway games.

            Reed just finished his day with 7IP/4H/2R (both earned)/9K/3BB/1HR; 95 pitches/59 strikes. If he put together another couple or three like this outing there is absolutely no reason to leave him at AAA. Either he gets his arm slot/ control issues resolved or he doesn’t.

            Maybe some Super2 avoidance (after the 2018 season) gymnastics going on with Reed? He is at ~137 days of MLB service time right now. If S2 was involved, they’d probably want him at >2 years+ 120 days (2.120) at the end of 2018. From June 1, there are just over 120 days left this season. Knock 35 days off of that to build his current total to a full year and he would be comfortably under 2.120 with a full 2108 at MLB.

        • I expect the medical staff to be competent. My eyes tell me that they aren’t.

  2. The 2nd inning was an example of how the parts have to work together. On the one hand if a couple of tough defensive plays had been made, the Reds are out of the inning with little harm done. On the other hand if the pitcher doesn’t hand out 4 free passes, the big plays might not have been needed.

    • If I recall following on Gameday- in the 2nd when its still 1-1, has Jay 0-2 hits him to load the bases, then gets ahead 0-2 on Schwaber who then gets a hit. Little things that lead to big innings

      • Sounds close to my memory too. For sure an 0/2 when Jay got hit by the pitch. The pitch obviously got away from Feldman. I’ve not seen any account of what Feldman wanted to do with the pitch. I’m guessing it was supposed to be a little up and a little in maybe to get Jay to elevate and chase and if not to comeback with a fastball low moving off the plate to get a swing and miss at 1/2.

  3. Not really meaning to single anyone out as a greater offender than anyone else because most all Reds hitters are the same; but, with 2 out in the 8th, the Reds down by 2 with the bases empty and a home run threat on deck, why does Barnhart swing at a 3/1 pitch? The entire goal of that AB has to be to get the tying run to the plate. The pitcher is going to try to avoid the same. He will try to make as good of or better pitch at 3/2 as at 3/1. Take the 3/1 and force him to throw another strike.

    Same with BHam in the 9th except two of the pitches he swung at were really bad pitches at ant count.

    • Things like this really does make me wonder if hitters are being taught strategy at all. I mean, it seems odd to criticize them when they have been one of the better offenses in MLB to date, but that doesn’t mean we have to overlook obvious deficiencies.

    • This happens WAY more often than it should. I agree that it’s very frustrating.

  4. the Reds best starting pitcher so far in 2017 gets pinated by the 2016 champions. Don’t ask disgusted, surprised, or outraged. This was anticipated before the season even began. This is what we should expect until we have a better starting 5.

  5. Well, we accomplished something this week, we got the struggling Cubs rolling again. Hey, we’ve got the 2nd pick in the draft, any preferences on who we take?

  6. At the end of the day, Reds are 19-20 while the World Champ Cubs are 20 -19. My major issue is that Cody Reed or Robert Stephenson can give the Reds about the same statline as Arroyo & Feldman have the last 2 days. Why not let our young guys start & let Feldman & Arroyo clean up ?

    • Agree. What’s better – losing early because your starting pitcher is awful and then is looking forward to his imminent retirement, or losing early because your starting pitcher is awful and then is looking forward to his next start because he’s learning to be a better pitcher?

    • I’m going to take a different view of reed.stephenson…it ciuld be misplaced.
      my theory is the reds from the start had a plan to limit innings and manage service time AND develop young pitchers for a number of pitchers. I believe Price and the FO wanted to work with Reed and Stephenson to develop their mechanics.approach.command…etc and use the first 2 months out of the bullpen to manage innings. The injuries gave Reed an opportunity…but he struggled again and they decided to simply let him start again in AAA.
      I think the Stephenson plan is still there and they are working with him to improve his command in side sessions and and he will move into the rotation in June with the idea to give him 18-20 starts and 115 innings there and 45 innings thru the bullpen in April May. He would then be ready to throw 180 innings + in 2018.
      The reds scripted outings for lorenzen and Iglesias last year…they are preparing Bob Steve for June 1st .

      • What you say makes sense, if only because it makes the inexplicable explicable. We want the Reds to pull out the stops a year early becasue they’ve looked better than we expected. Developing the young pitchers properly for the long term still has to be the goal. The Reds’ method, of course, can be debated, but it seems very unlikely that they don’t have individual plans for these guys.

  7. Obviously the game was lost on walks and errors and poor decision making at the plate, but how is that call at first overturned to end the game? What happened to “conclusive” evidence required to change a call on the field? Frustrating that the replay system failed so badly in this case. Should have been Duvall up with the wind blowing our and a chance to tie the game. As if the Cubs need even more help… Dang.

    • My only guess is that the Cubs TV had a conclusive angle. Because the Reds’ broadcast certainly did not.

    • The umpire on the field had it right. Made the right call. It was the “umpires” in New York that got it terribly wrong. Price was more than upset about it in his post game interview. He said he already had spoken to GM Dick Williams and they were going to take it up with MLB. Price said something to the effect that they were going to be “very pissed” today if MLB didn’t address this issue in some way, having this call overturned on no conclusive evidence. I don’t really know what MLB can do, though. Other than reprimand the NY umpires who overturned it.

  8. Man, this team is streaky. In 39 games, they already have FIVE STREAKS of four or more games (two winning, three losing).

    • Hopefully due for a hot one, seems they start losing when the bats go cold when they get decent starting pitching, then they get lousy pitching and start hitting late in games and come up a bit short, then they start clicking (or maybe all that happened when they play the PIrates)

  9. On the bright side, the Rockies have to play a day-night doubleheader today before flying out to Cincinnati for a weekend series. Originally they had only a getaway day game, but last night’s game was rained out in Minneapolis.

  10. The offense is good, the defense above average, and the back end of the bullpen great. The starters, except Garrett and hopefully Barrios, have been awful. What about stretching out Paralta as the third starter? I’ve heard no health reasons why he can’t start. I know we lose a key bullpen asset. But we need starters. Can we , again, try bob’steve and Reed as starters. Then when Bailey’s ready to start again, move the non performer of the five to the bullpen. We certainly don’t need a forty year old and a poorly performing thirty-four year old in the starting rotation of a rebuilding team.

  11. To run Feldman and Bronson out there every 4 or 5 days and expect something different then what we have seen is goofy.Aldeman is at best a 5th starter but none of these 3 would be starting for any other team in baseball.The Reds have chosen to go this way so we will continue to talk about it the rest of this year and probably next year.The Reds hitters for the most part rarely display patience at the plate regarding the game situation as alluded to by JIM WALKER.Walks are ok but for the most part we don’t see that as being something important.

  12. Make all the excuses you want there is something wrong in the front office & with the coaching staff. You can’t play defense like they did last nite & you can’t expect home runs to win every game.

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