2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Titanic Struggle Recap: The Billy Hamilton Show

Final R H E
Cincinnati Reds (22-24) 4 7 0
Cleveland Indians (24-21) 3 10 1
W: Lorenzen (3-0) L: Allen (0-2) S: Iglesias (8)
FanGraphs Win Probability | Box Score

The Good
–The following narrative was originally written for the “The Bad” section below. But then Billy Hamilton did what Billy Hamilton does.

With the Reds down 3-2 in the top of the ninth, Scooter Gennett led off with a single. Tucker Barnhart followed up with another single, and the Reds had runners on first and second with no outs.

And Bryan Price asked Jose Peraza to bunt. Yes, the Reds only had three outs left in the game, and they willingly handed one of them to the Indians for free. Peraza did exactly as you would suspect: terrible bunt, and the lead runner was forced out at third.

I was not happy, and I was prepared to whine about it in the recap after yet another Reds loss. But then things got interesting.

Hamilton grounded into a double play. Game over.

But no! The Reds challenged the call at first, and Hamilton was deemed safe, beating out a double play ball that no one else on earth would have been called safe on. So the Reds were still in business, with runners on first and third for Zack Cozart.

Cozart drilled a liner into left field for a single, scoring Arismendy Alcantara (pinch-running for Barnhart) from third. Game tied!

But wait! Here comes Hamilton, who started at first base and was running on the pitch. Billy streaked around third — without even peeking at third base coach Billy Hatcher — and scored the go-ahead run before the Indians even threw the ball back into the infield. I’d say it was one of the craziest things I’d ever seen, but Billy does this stuff all the time.

–Adam Duvall hit a long home run, to dead center, that accounted for the first two Cincinnati runs. It was Duvall’s tenth of the season.

–Gennett — serving as tonight’s designated hitter — collected two hits in four at-bats.

–Blake Wood and Michael Lorenzen combined for three shutout innings.

The Bad
–Offense was dormant for most of the night, but I can’t complain about anything here. Well, I could, but I won’t. Go Reds.

Not-So-Random Thoughts
–Now that was an exciting win. The Ohio Cup is within Cincinnati’s grasp.

–The game was halted by a 1 hour, 58 minute rain delay in the top of the sixth inning.

–Lisalverto Bonilla wasn’t good, and he wasn’t bad. Gave up three runs in five innings. Not sharp, but he battled. Bonilla almost escaped the fifth without giving up his third run, but alas, Carlos Santana is the best player in baseball (two doubles, a home run, and all 3 RBI for Cleveland tonight).

–The Reds are the only team in the major leagues with four players who each have 10+ home runs: Votto, Schebler, Duvall, Suarez.

–Yes, I’ve been over-the-top about Hamilton over the last year or two. But is there any player in baseball that is more exciting? I say no.

–Votto wrote Edwin Encarnacion a note in the dirt in front of the Cleveland dugout before the game tonight. You can see it all the way down there at the bottom of the post. Ya gotta love Joey Votto.

Tonight’s Tweets

103 thoughts on “Titanic Struggle Recap: The Billy Hamilton Show

      • Stephen Hawking predicts that, within 100 years, mankind will have created artificial intelligence which will subjugate and, possibly, eliminate us.

        • 100? I’m thinking 25 at most. Have you seen the advances in AI? Cool but sometimes scary stuff.

          • I agree with you, LW, but I expect he’s obliged to be cautious. He may have said 50 years, actually, but my robot vacuum cleaner has appropriated part of my brain and I can’t remember things so well anymore.

    • I also noticed in the fangraphs box score that the player on the Reds with the WORST WPA for the game was Billy Hamilton. Perhaps advanced stats aren’t quite getting the whole picture just yet. I’m becoming more a fan of that kind of assessment but that one’s just funny. The Reds would not have won without his speed. That’s Win Percentage ADDED!

      • One tiny fringe case where the framework of the stat breaks down doesn’t make it a bad stat…

        Billy just breaks things and makes the world burn…and I love him for it.

        More seriously, though, since the scorer decided not to give an error (inexplicably, because Billy doesn’t score if Brantley doesn’t misplace the ball), Cozart gets the credit there for advancing the runner.

        That extra base WILL show up in Billy’s favor in BsR, however, since it is a “runs above average” metric, and no one else advances 3 bases there.

        • Patrick I didn’t mean to suggest WPA (or any other advanced metric) is a “bad” stat, just pointing out that it doesn’t (or possibly, can’t) fully account for everything that goes into winning ball games. And further that Billy Hamilton does things no other player can, and this is a clear example of “he’s such an outlier our measures don’t even account for the possibility of the things he does”. I’m sure there’s no adjustment for the double play that would have ended the game it’s any other batter but didn’t, because Billy. Not dismissing WPA. Also not taking my eyes off that Hamilton guy for a moment.

    • Close to 1000 strikes that were called balls. Bonilla was hurt big time by this

    • You expect maybe a handful of missed ball-strike calls in a game from a human umpire, but not close to 20. That chart confirms what I thought as I was watching. In his defense, Bonilla could simply not get a call.

    • I’m anti-robot-umps but his zone was horrible yesterday. It gives the pro-robot-umps folks plenty of evidence to support their case. There should at least be some accountability for the guys in blue but there sure doesn’t seem to be.

  1. I was so frustrated at the sac bunt then saw the double play and closed game day. Only figured out what happened when Facebook told me end of 9 4-3 reds.

  2. Really incredible play. Give Cozart credit for the base knock, but man that was unreal speed.

    Interesting looking at the Win Probability Added for the key hitters.

    Duvall:.026
    Hamilton: -,218
    Cozart: .585

    Really hard to quantify his speed. That stat certainly does not do it justice tonight

  3. At first I felt like the Reds had gotten away with something when the game was extended. Then I recalled a couple of weeks ago when they were denied the chance to get the tying run to the plate at the end of the game because or a reversal which went against them and figured just keep playing till the eyes in the sky say the game is over.

  4. Every time I see a reversal of a bang bang play at first base, I always wonder if the replay umps get any audio of the play because from what I’ve read about professional umpiring as well as my own experience as a youth league ump, I know that the calls on close plays like that are often determined as much by what the ump hears or doesn’t hear as by the visual experience.

    • I’ve also heard that an exercise in umpire school involves using their ears. The ump-in-training is positioned near a base, closes his eyes, and makes the call based on which sound he hears first — the ball smacking in the glove or the runner’s foot hitting the base.

      • I gave Price credit for not bunting with a guy on 2B with no outs a couple of games ago. Since then he’s bunted nearly every opportunity and twice the lead runner was thrown out. I’ll do us all a favor and stop giving Price credit. haha.

        I don’t believe anyone can impact the game like Billy can without getting a hit or a walk. HIs speed is unreal, it’s a game changer, literally in this case.

        Overall I’ve been pleased with how Bonilla’s went out there e and battled. Like a lot of young pitchers he tends to struggle the more times he goes through a line up.

        • Or just execute the stupid bunt.

          Alcantara can do it and so can scores of college players, high schoolers and little leaguers

          • No one seems to understand that even the best bunter in the world does not have a 100% success rate. You can’t just say “execute the stupid bunt.” He tried. He failed.

            That’s the problem… you can call for a bunt and HOPE the guy gets it down, but he’s not always going to do it. You have to account for that probability of failure when making the decision.

            That is why, LITERALLY, there is no situation where a bunt is the correct call (for non pitchers). Unless you can find a guy with a 96%+ success rate on runner advancement when bunting. I don’t think that man exists.

          • College, high school and little leaguers don’t bunt against major league pitchers. I haven’t, either, but I doubt that it’s as easy as it looks.

      • I umpired a lot in my twenties. On those plays you cannot clearly see both the ball going into the glove and the foot hitting the bag. You have to watch the bag and listen for,the sound of the ball hitting the glove. Replay will allow you to see both so you don’t need the audio, but in real time umpires definitely rely on the sound of the play.

        • I watched the base for both players’ feet; but preferred to trust my ears on really close plays. Did a hear thunk/whack (safe) or whack/thunk (out). If I couldn’t differentiate which sound I thought started first, I figured that was also safe because the default state is that a man is safe until he is clearly out..

      • The replays looked to me like BHam’s back spikes/ heel caught the front vertical face of the base clearly before the ball arrived; and, that’s probably what won the reversal for the Reds. Even with their almost frame by frame stop action, it looked like flip a coin over whether the lead part of his foot was on the top of the base ahead of the ball arriving. So, the sound test probably failed the ump.

  5. Man, Hamilton was halfway between 2nd and 3rd when the ball reached the LFr. I was following on Gameday and could not comprehend how BH scored from 1B on a single to LF.

    Speed kills.

    Bill E Rocks!

  6. Keeping the bunt on when the first baseman was basically standing on home plate was idiotic

    • As I’ve said so many times, Price is bunt happy. So stupid. Hardly ever works either.

  7. Good win. Big hit for Cozart with game on line. Heads up base running by Hamilton. He was running on the hit, then Brantley dove, missed , and could not find the ball allowing Hamilton to score. Great play.

    I thought we were cooked after the Votto terrible at bat with the bases loaded. He missed a mistake pitch in the middle of the plate, (ala Duvall last night), then looked at strike three. He has been aggressive with two strikes this year, but reverted to old form.

    • It was a bad at bat but only one. More often than not he has continued to attack the ball this year. Base hit on a 3-0 pitch earlier in the game as an example.

    • That called strike three looked like a really good pitch–tailed over the plate at the very end.

      • I thought given the strategic situation with the weather, it was close enough all the way JV should have been looking to spoil it rather than risk getting a borderline call.

        He certainly didn’t seem to question the call at. It may have been one of those rare situations where JV was not able to clear his thoughts and restore full focus after missing (fouling off) the previous pitch which as noted above should at the least been launched deep enough to be a sac fly.

      • Agreed. Joey doesn’t swing at those pitches because nothing good is going to happen. If you can throw it there consistently, Joey will tip his cap to you.

  8. The team deserves credit when they do well, and especially as they did last night. Go Reds!
    But I have to say, I did not like Billy’s post game comment that he was going to head home even if Billy Hatcher gave him the stop sign.
    Is he saying that even if the left fielder had picked the ball on the short hop he would have ran through Billy Hatcher’s stop sign?
    When a commenter says the team has discipline problems I have had my doubts. But for a player to say what BH did without consequences seems to indicate that had he been thrown out after ignoring a stop sign, there would be no consequence there either.
    The players should be more accountable to the coaches and field manager.
    Yet–win, lose, or draw, still love the Reds!

    • Of course, he didn’t run through a stop sign. He just said that he would have. Freedom of speech, and so on. And we have no idea whether or not Price had a word with him. Would that be enough accountability, or would you suggest a suspension for his ill-considered remark?

    • That’s a bit nit-picky. Billy saw the play in front of him, when he was about at the shortstop position, and made up his mind. I would trust his judgment more than Hatcher’s, if Billy could see what happened in front of him.

      • Billy did the right thing based on what happened. He saw the LF not catch or stop the ball, and Billy Hatcher was waving him on.
        I was only saying IF the left fielder caught the ball on the short hop was Billy saying he would keep going even with a stop sign?
        I agree this is nitpicky if it were about BH only.
        I was just wondering if this attitude is typical of what is allowed by Price and coaches. If so, no wonder there are a lot of TOOTBLANS.

        • but he didn’t say that he would have run through the stop sign IF the outfielder caught the ball on a short hop. He saw the play in front of him and when the outfielder missed the ball he made the decision to go.

          • No, you raised an interesting question, particularly on light of the TOOTBLANS. Does anyone here who watches a lot of other teams notice whether or not they are better than the Reds at not screwing up on the bases? And I apologize for my borderline-sarcastic reply to the first comment–I’m cutting back a bit on my coffee consumption and it’s making me stroppy.

    • Has someone said that the team has discipline problems? And if so, is that person someone other than a cranky hall of fame broadcaster?

      I agree with what was said… Billy made that comment based on how he saw the play unfold. Also, it’s just basically the kind of thing you can say because he got away with it.

  9. Nice win! Cozart with a big hit. Great pitching by the bullpen.

    Speaking of the bullpen, I’ve noticed something interesting (concerning to me). This isn’t meant to be a criticism; I think Bryan Price has done a good job this year. But Lorenzen’s last six appearances and Igelsias’ last seven have been one inning or less. I haven’t looked closely at Iglesias, but Lorenzen has been extremely efficient during that time, so he certainly could have gone multiple innings in several of those outings. Are they becoming one-inning guys now? I would hate that.

    I didn’t mind Price going to Iglesias last night. Again, I don’t mean the comment to be criticism but a source for discussion.

    • Do you suppose that Price might be trying to conserve his best BP guys in light of the pen’s enormous workload?

      • Then why not let Lorenzen pitch the 9th when he buzzes thru the 8th on 15 or less pitches

        Iggy has been great but the last few seem like 30 pitch efforts. The first inning and the 9th were similar pitch counts

    • Lorenzen and Iggy have gotten the job done; but, in the process, they’ve run some really high single inning pitch counts. Maybe this is at least part of why they are only be used for single inning stints. Iggy threw 29 last night and is at 48 for the series. I doubt we see him tonight for even an inning.

    • I’d say it’s a factor of the amount of work the bullpen has already put in this year. Also, it’s only May. They need to make it to September.

    • I noticed it on Tuesday when both pitched one inning rather than maybe letting Lorenzen just pitch two and close out the 5-1 game. Seemed unnecessary to pitch both

  10. Great win by the Reds.Pulled one out when it appeared they had bunted one away.I am going to say that Peraza has no clue on how to bunt or where to try to bunt the ball to in that situation.I saw the end of the game and he had the deer in the headlights look when he looked down to Hatcher after he bunted the first one foul.Game won because Cozy put the bat on the ball and Billy can run.Great comeback by the Reds.Nobody in the league beats out that play at first or scores on that hit.The Reds went from giving one away to stealing one.Bonilla kept them close,Wood was really good and Lorenzen and Iggy do what they do.Reds Win.

    • Agree. I’ve seen that look on Peraza’s face quite frequently, but don’t think it’s limited to bunting. :p

      Bunting is difficult to master and I would hope that the Reds brass has evaluated each player and knows who can do it and who can’t. If Peraza can’t be counted on to bunt, then don’t bunt. Simple as that. I hate bunting anyway and wish that no one but pitchers would ever try it. Brian Price and I differ on this. I’m sure he’s interested in my advice.

      • First, you have to learn the strike zone.

        Peraza is years away from learning the strike zone. It affects his hitting as well as his bunting

        • I think you are right.

          I’ve been thinking about hitting lately and my thoughts aren’t exactly leading me to a good place regarding Peraza. From my coaching days I recall a common fear among hitters: Don’t strike out. It lead many to simply approach an at bat with the idea that they were going to swing at the first “good” pitch they saw or first fastball they could reach. Situational hitting would override that approach at times, but the idea was to never get to a two-strike count. It was simple and aggressive and lead to lots of fastballs being put it play for hits or outs.

          Making the transition to a hitter who could read, wait, and react took time and was much harder to accomplish. Votto is the master here because he knows the strike zone so well and seems to recognize pitches instantly and doesn’t fear the strike out or hitting with two strikes.

          I don’t know about Peraza. He has quick hands, but his hyperagressiveness leads me to think that he may be compensating for an inability to quickly recognize pitches. That could also explain why his swing rarely integrates his legs. Maybe it’s just youth and inexperience? Hacking is easy. Hitting is hard.

      • It’s the double-ear-flap helmet. You can’t wear one of those and not seem like you have that look on your face. I’m a Peraza detractor but don’t think he looks lost. I just think his hacktastic approach means he’ll never likely be a particularly productive MLB starting player.

        • For goodness sake – he’s 23 in the middle of his first season of ML Baseball. Give the kid some time to learn to best use his skills.
          2 years ago everyone was crying about how poorly Suarez was playing – liability in the field, streaky hitter with no knowledge of the strike zone. Now he’s the “cornerstone” of the next Reds contender!

          • Suarez had a history of strong plate-discipline in MiLB, suggesting that he needed to learn and grow. Suarez’ defense was considered to be adequate in MiLB and although he was pretty brutal at SS and initially at 3B for the Reds, there was enough there to think that it could perhaps just be growing pains. Suarez also showed power in the MiLB and in MLB, even if he did seem a bit streaky.

            I’ve never liked Peraza. Didn’t like his skillset. The history of very low walk guys with little power who rely on contact having success in MLB is pretty slim on players. Finally, this is just my opinion and as a Reds fan, I’d rather be wrong in this case than right in this case. And yes, he is only 23 which is why even though I think Gennett is the better player right here, right now, I feel the Reds are right to play Peraza at 2B consistently. They need to know what they have in him. They may need to play him regularly at SS/2B next year to further evaluate him in what is likely to be another season of rebuilding.

  11. I expected Lorenzen and Iggy to become one inning guys at some point but its early to start that already.I hope Price makes that call based on the game at hand and how each is throwing rather then just saying it before the game.I think he did just that with Wood on his second inning.I would hate it too if we go back to this one inning only stuff.

  12. Great win!! I was driving and had to catch the end on the radio. My only complaint was that it took Marty atleast 20 minutes to give the score in the 8th inning. I figured the Reds were down 6-2 or something? Two things…I agree Billy is amazing and there is absolutely no way this team doesn’t take a step back if they trade Cozart.

    • Indy, I was watching the game and listening to Thom rattling on endlessly about bowling while the action was unfolding. Just as frustrating as Sean Casey who often could lead me to think I’d stumbled accidentaly onto a Food Network broadcast (albeit one devoted to eating huge quantities of fast food).

  13. The baseball gods gave one to Cleveland Tuesday night.
    Last night the baseball gods gave a gift to the Reds.
    I don’t know why bunting frustrates so many people. It usually isn’t the call for one that fails, it is the execution by the player. The Reds have very poor bunters. A few are capable. But most are not.
    Cleveland had their star player Francisco Lindor execute a perfect sacrifice bunt earlier in the game. The time and place for the Reds bunt calls are not the problem. It is the very poor execution of the bunt by Reds players that is the problem.

    • I’m not sure I agree that Price is a master of bunting strategy WV, but I definitely agree that the Reds execution is often terrible, and we would be far more forgiving of the bunt call if the hitters actually bunted successfully.

      • I didn’t say Price was a master of bunting strategery. I think his bunting philosophy has been stunted by his players very poor fundamentals on bunting. He doesn’t it use it enough for safety squeezes like he did with Alcantara the other night. Which was a very good job by Alcantara.
        Bunting, is actually not a hard thing to do. But it is a skill like anything else and needs to be practiced and honed.
        Price trusted his player could lay a bunt down. The player did. But the player also bunted it to the worst place he could have. It is all about execution with bunting. Getting the bunt down in fair territory is just half the job, but most players seem like that is all they need to do. The other half of the bunting job is placing it down in the right direction with the right touch.

        • Shouldn’t Price know that his players are terrible bunters? Shouldn’t that make Price stop calling for bunts?

          • WV of course you weren’t – I was exaggerating for emphasis. And if you’re suggesting that sometimes it’s good when Price calls for a bunt I would agree. But when giving up an out actually reduces run expectancy AND the hitter is not a good banter, that’s more than just poor execution, it’s poor thinking. To me the Reds have the bad double whammy of limited bunting skills and poor bunting strategy by the manager. Sadly, both are fixable and yet we see the same mistakes both in the dugout and on the field. Maddening. The Reds got away with one last night in spite of the bunt situation and certainly not because of it.

        • 10-15 years ago I watched the Minnesota Twins take BP before a game. They spent the first 15-20 minutes bunting. Not sure if they did that every day, but certainly goes to the point of “a honed skill”.

        • Every play? Does that include when he’s not AB, and when he’s in the field? 🙂

          • If he’s not AB then he should be mentoring the team so well that they hit it out every play…Come on Ethan

        • But his BAbip would become incalculable and how would we ever reconcile that with his performance?

  14. Helluva effort against the Cleveland closer to string together 3 hits on him when he had struck out 30 in 18 innings coming in.

    Joey looked way off in his final at bats. I wonder if he’s headed for a slump.

    The Reds have a relatively easy stretch over the next few weeks. I like their chances to hover at or a little above the .500 mark. Just keep buying time until the cavalry arrives!

  15. Bunting is a terrible thing but if you are going to continue to do it then practice it,go over game situations etc.Now I know this is the big leagues and I get it but you make yourself and the whole team look silly when you can’t do a simple little league thing.As I said earlier Peraza was clueless and if we can see it then surely the manager can see it so why do you go through with it.Makes the manager look silly also.Bunting is just a silly thing.Peraza probably thinks he did good just to lay it down and he is right because I was shocked he did.

  16. Gennett struck out to end the game the night before against Allen. But got a little bit of revenge by starting the 9th inning rally with a single.

    I don’t know why the replay took so long. Cleveland feed had the replay froze with Billy’s foot on the bag and the ball not in Santana’s glove.

    • I’ll take a guess on why so long. On very very close plays, they may be putting time stamped freeze frames side by side by side. Instead of looking at just a comprehensive view like we see, they may have the frame they consider Hamilton’s first contact with the base on one screen and on another screen their best view of the exact moment of the ball being caught. Then on other screens they might have the frozen comprehensive view at those two instances. That takes time to do.

      And since simplest is often most correct, maybe there were multiple reviews going on simultaneously.

  17. Making the Reds bunt is like making Shaq your designated free throw shooter on technical fouls. Its on him but after failing again and again and again and again then its on you!

  18. Even in the unlikely event that a Red can successfully execute a sacrifice bunt, you’re deliberately setting up a situation where it’s up to Hamilton to put the ball in play and get at least one run in (or else Cozart must get a hit). There are so many things that can go wrong in that scenario, and you’re deliberately giving up one of your three remaining outs just to get there. It was a terrible decision in every possible way. The Reds will probably never have enough talent to overcome Price’s mental deficits.

    • I agree. As has been said here many times by many folks, probably the only time bunting makes sense is when the home team needs a single run to tie or take the lead/win from the 8th inning on into extra innings.

  19. I don’t know specifically how ESPN predicts projections, but as it stands today both Lorenzen and Iglesias are on pace for ~85-88ip. I don’t think that they’ll be limited to one inning appearances from here on out, but I imagine, efficient or not, Price doesn’t want to over tax arms that are already taxed. For a RP throwing 30+ pitches an inning may not seem like a lot compared to SP but these are guys throwing harder than they would starting and typically, usually in higher leverage situations. No point in overstressing arms in May.

    • That’s the thing. According to Dick Williams, they are actually behind the innings levels that would make their bullpen usage worth it. Iglesias has thrown a decent number of pitches lately. Lorenzen hasn’t thrown 20 pitches in an inning since his last two-inning appearance. He’s thrown less than 15 pitches in 5 of his 6 appearances. It’s just interesting.

      • I mean, I agree. I guess my point is, whoever is efficient at the time should be getting multiple innings, the less efficient shorter innings, and hopefully come year end both eclipse 100ip. Without highly taxing there arms.

  20. You are right J about Billy now having to put the ball in play.Odds are he won’t hit a ball far enough to get a sac fly in fact I much as I love him he is probably the one guy you don’t want up in that situation.Billy and Peraza back to back at any spot in the line up is not a good thing which is why they never ever should do it.I prefer Billy at 9th,pitcher at 8th and Peraza at 7th and everybody else moves up.

    • Its cold and rainy in Indy as well….the race might be affected on Sunday?

      • Most of the rain will fall overnight Saturday into Sunday. There could be some lingering showers as well throughout Race Day, but I don’t see a shortened or postponed race.

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