Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds overcome twilight (strike) zone

After waving silent bats for 8 innings, the Reds struck for two runs in the bottom of the 9th to tie the game. Then Devin Mesoraco, batting for the first time tonight, blasted a 99-mph fastball to left center for a walk-off homer. In play run(s). ‘Twas an exciting start for the home stand.

Before the late heroics, it looked like the Reds would be foiled by home plate umpire Mike Winters, who seemed determined to show how much he could disadvantage hitters with his strike zone tonight. For example, here’s a Zack Cozart AB where pitches #1, #4 and #6 were *called* strikes by Winters.

Winters turned Mike Foltynewicz, a pitcher with a below average strikeout rate, into Nolan Ryan. The Reds batters fought back by swinging early in the count. The results, predictably, were ugly. Until the 9th.

Cincinnati Reds 3 • Atlanta Braves 2 || MLB || FG || Statcast

Six innings and two earned runs is as good as the Reds are going to get from Bronson Arroyo and that’s what the 40-year-old pitcher produced tonight. Arroyo struck out 2 and walked one. He lowered his ERA to 6.24; only three MLB starters have a higher ERA. Bert Blyleven holds the all-time record for giving up home runs in a season at 50. Arroyo is on pace to give up 60. Long live the rebuild.

The Reds bullpen – Wandy Peralta, Blake Wood, Drew Storen and Raisel Iglesias – shut out the Braves over the final four innings.

There weren’t many positives for the home team tonight until the the 9th. They had managed three hits – singles by Zack Cozart, Tucker Barnhart and Arroyo – and three walks. Then Adam Duvall and Eugenio Suarez led off the 9th with back-to-back doubles producing the first run. Scott Schebler and Jose Peraza made outs, but Suarez advanced to third base. Braves closer Jim Johnson then bounced a ball past the catcher (which somehow Mike Winters didn’t call a strike) allowing Suarez to score the tying run. Extra innings!

Devin Mesoraco, Destroyer of Worlds and Labra, led off the 10th with his towering home run. Mesoraco can handle the fastball.

Defensive play: In the top of the 4th, Joey Votto turned in an alert defensive play throwing Matt Kemp out at home in the top of the 4th. Peraza had ranged deep over 2B keeping the ball in the infield.

Brandon Phillips returned to Great American Ball Park. C Trent Rosecrans is all over the details. Phillips blocked the Reds from a pre-game celebration of his return and said the Reds giving out his #4 (to Scooter Gennett) was an insult. The Reds have given out Jay Bruce’s number and Johnny Cueto’s number and Todd Frazier’s number to other players. The Reds gave Joe Morgan’s number to Rafael Landestoy.

Phillips should be more worried about the #5; he went 0-for-5 tonight.

Special related note for Chad: The Reds haven’t given out #22 since Eric Milton wore it in 2007. [Note: Billy Hatcher wears #22.]

Media note: Jim Day filled the play-by-play chair on the radio broadcast tonight and did a great job. Clear, informative, prepared, easy teamwork with Jeff Brantley. Day mentioned on-base percentage in the first inning which is more than the regular broadcaster has all season. Goes without saying that we all have different preferences for our broadcasters. I really liked the job Day did tonight.

48 thoughts on “Reds overcome twilight (strike) zone

  1. The difference in Jim Day’s TV lead and play by play work last year and this year from previously is unbelievable. He is on the verge of being very good. Probably just a matter of him getting reps.
    I bet he has been spending some of his time off developing these skills instead of sightseeing. 😉

    • He was really good tonight. When Marty retires I would really prefer him to either Jim Kelch or Dan Hoard.

      • Really? I guess I’ll have to listen in when he calls his next game. I just didn’t find him engaging the previous times I listened.

    • I have only heard him with calls on TV aside from a trip to the Mens room today. Seemed to do well.

  2. I have an Eric Milton coolbase jersey. It’s delightful.

    And stop whining, BP. You are such a hypocrite, saying you are disrespected when you threw around so much disrespect over your last 5 years with the Reds.

    • He got an ovation which was nice, but he acts like he should be treated like Babe Ruth returning to Yankee Stadium.

    • Phillips’ ego knows no bounds. He can’t believe the Reds would just hand out the number of the greatest Reds player to ever wave a bat. FWIW, I heard he can’t believe James Gunn cast Kurt Russell as Guardians of the Galaxy’s villain. Thought he’d have been perfect for the role.

    • I was a little curious whether BP would talk with the local media, since he had shut down much communication with them while he was a Red, or so I remember. …

      And for the record, BP ought to look at the list of players who wore No. 20 after Frank Robinson left town, or who wore No. 8 after Joe Morgan left town. Just because somebody else is wearing the number now, that doesn’t mean the Reds couldn’t retire it in his name later. BP needs to get over himself.

      • Like Alcantara wearing Griffey Jr’s #30… Ok, so he wasn’t a HoF if you only look at his Reds’ body of work but the guy is a Cincy legend. Besides, it was his dad’s #30 before his and his dad was a pretty good player. I think complaining about the Reds giving his number out is pretty weak. After he’s in the MLB HoF, he can talk but until then… yeah.

  3. Great way to tie up the game and even better to win on the walk off.We got handed a chance on the wild pitch and good teams do what the Reds did tonight.

  4. There are lots of things to question and dislike, but the Reds are on pace to win 77 games.

    Through 53 games last year they were on pace to win 54.

  5. Nice comeback for the Reds. The Umpire kept us off balance most of the night. I am glad our hitters did not succumb to his off-the-wall strike zone and start swinging at the garbage off the plate he was calling strikes.

  6. Steve, the reason that Winters didn’t call that wild pitch a strike in the 9th was because it was high. Obviously…

  7. I bailed out after the 7th and then checked the scores. I promptly watched the Reds’ halves of the 9th and 10th. Way to get it done.

    Didn’t realize BP snubbed a pre-game celebration. Too bad. The fans were very good to him before his first AB. Nostalgia must have overcome him and that’s why the 0-for-5 cropped up.

  8. The events of last night only reinforce the fact that Williams properly handled the “dat dude” issue earlier this year. I wish BP all the best (somewhere else).

  9. Just noticed on replay that Braves pitcher was in the base path and Mesoraco had to dodge him on his way home. Irritating.

  10. BP, let it go. Reds-as I’ve stated many times, just get good, doesn’t have to be great, SP and this team can compete with anyone. I’d still go out and get a bona fide starter. Sonny Gray anyone? Heck, we’re only three games out of first. Wish I could count on Bailey, Disco and Finnegan going forward but….

    • How would they obtain Sonny Gray without making themselves worse in other areas? The A’s aren’t going to just give him away.

      • They’d have to empty the upper minors ala the Latos trade. The As do love to stockpile prospects.I still wouldn’t do it. Let’s see if any of out MLB pitchers return and make an impact first.

      • The argument would be the A’s ….or other teams willing to trade a proven young controllable starter….Rays..etc ..are quitting on 2018/19….. And trying to rebuild for the long term.

        Hence.they would be interested in high ceiling prospects…not major league ready players. The reds have such players and a package of prospects who will be ready in 2020 doesn’t hurt the Reds now.
        Yes…it would weaken the overall minor leagues somewhat.but the reds have a deep minor league system and they replenish that with 3 players in the top 36 in the draft in a week.

        For instance….Sal Romano and Vlad Gutierrez and Taylor Trammell would be 3 such players….the reds can draft Kyle Wright and essentially replace Romano…the reds outfield is set for years with schebler/Bham and Duvall with Winker and Aquino and Friedl as young depth and Castillo at AA and Mahle and Reed and Garrett and newly drafted Kyle Wright would give plenty of residual pitching depth.
        I would go with lorenzen as that front end starter but something needs to be done for 2018 if the goal is to win

        • Chris Archer is going to cost a fortune with his team-friendly contract and years of control left. The ask would likely start with Senzel and go from there. The Cubs would be in on him as well with their pitching woes. Gray and Archer are high stakes gets.

          You are right that the Reds have great depth right now in the minors and about to add more. I’m worried about how they are going to manage all of the talent on their 40-man so a blockbuster might go a long way to clearing up some spots so they don’t have to expose guys that they’d rather keep.

        • Yes. Sorry, I didn’t see this before I posted below. However Trammell is very close to being on my untouchable list along with Senzel. I understand he is further away because of being so young; but everything I read puts his ceiling sky high.

      • Not speaking to Gray specifically; but they get better in the short to medium haul by moving some of the trove of talent they have at class AA/A+/A as the heart of the deal. The calculation they have to make is whether it is worthwhile to to do this versus any damage to where they would be with these guys in 3-5 years. The only real untouchable I see here is Senzel.

        As I’ve said previously, I’d also consider putting Winker into the trade mix because I think Duvall is more important to the team over the next 3-4 years as the lead RH power bat than Winker as a LH bat along with Votto and Schebler. Now, if Schebler draws enough interest to headline such a deal, that’s a different; trade Schebler and keep Winker.

        • I completely agree on Winker but still think the Reds would be selling low on him. He needs to keep doing what he’s been doing lately at Louisville to show that he has the power to be a corner outfielder.

          • Understand. I’m more into doing the deal in the off season than as a deadline deal this year. I think teams do overpay on deadline deals; and, thus it is premature for the Reds to be that aggressive at the deadline given where they are overall in their rebuild.

            The Reds have been so starved for minor league position talent in then last 3-5 years that is difficult to wrap one’s mind around the fact that sans power output, Winker may well be no more than a (very good) 2-3 year bridge to guys under him in the system.

          • I see Winker as a Hal Morris-type at best which is pretty good but not awe-inspiring. Agree as well on an off-season deal.

    • Fascinating discussion. I say it’s still a year of sorting … unless you get to the end of July and the starting eight and the bullpen are still performing as they are currently, and two of the three of Bailey, DeSclafani and Finnegan are back pitching effectively. If the Reds are within striking distance … and I mean very close to the division lead, not hanging on at the back of the wild card pack … then you give serious thought to a trade like this.

      I think it was Theo Epstein who said you only get so many chances at winning a title, and you have to go for it when you have a legit chance. (I’m paraphrasing.) If at the end of July, you have all of the above, you’ve fairly well identified your starting eight for the next few seasons and your bullpen (Iglesias, Lorenzen, Peralta and Brice in the key roles). Adding a Sonny Gray with two years control may very well be a necessary move for a team whose rebuild in many ways appears to be ahead of schedule.

      If the small sample size of the first two months projects through late July, then you will have learned that you have an all-star caliber third baseman, tremendous power and above-average defense at the corner outfield positions and excellent defense up the middle. And, in this scenario, Cozart stays.

      I hope we have to sort through this in late July — but I can’t imagine the starting pitching currently in place will allow that to happen.

      • If Finnegan and Bailey are really as close as the club is talking; and, they are in fact back and effective by the All Star break, now to the end of June instead of July may turn out to be the bridge too far. If it happens this way, that will make the dithering and wasted opportunities with Stephenson and Reed all the more frustrating.

        • I don’t know the real reasons why the Reds did what they did with Stephenson and Reed, but I’m not blaming them entirely. A lot of the non-production rests on the shoulders of the players. They had their chances and spit the bit IMO.

      • I remember a time when there was conversation for the Reds to trade a young minor league elite hitter named Joey Votto for Erik Bedard…who had a few good years. Paul Daugherty wrote a note article supporting it.
        Senzel is untouchable….I’m admittedly biased but I think Winker will win a batting title and get on base like shin Soo choo and Votto.. I don’t want him traded.
        Does Taylor Trammell become Andre Dawson …..or does he become Desmond Jennings? Being so young and doing well at Dayton is a really good sign.

        • That trade would have obviously been a disaster. I think Votto has great talent, but what sets him apart is his single-mindedness. He seems SO driven and focused on the intricacies of the game that he’s some some of baseball savant. I don’t know that anyone looking at his numbers in the minors alone could have seen where he’d end up. The Reds definitely dodged a bullet by keeping him—but they knew his mental make-up far better than we did.

          Whenever I slip up and read a Daugherty column, I read it in George Constanza “opposite” mode. He is the master of the uniformed hot take.

          I wouldn’t trade Senzel either but Winker has to show more power or MLB pitchers will simply pound the zone and live with his singles because he can’t hurt them otherwise. His walks/OBP will drop. He already has more pop than Peraza or Hamilton—who does’t—but he needs more. I think it’s in there and was hampered significantly by his wrist injury. If Winker could become a Choo, the Reds would really have something. What a fantastic hitter.

          • Yes….Winker has some work to do. Hate to see cozart go….but IF…..and a big if….Senzel continues to develop as a superstar…and Winker could develop more power….the reds become an offensive juggernaut

          • Winker wouldn’t be batting with other Jesse Winkers following him in the order. He’d be followed by players with significant power, so I doubt that pitchers will concede him singles on a regular basis.

  11. D-Backs have Archie Bradley in a relief role (like Stephenson) even though long-term he’s a starter. He’s doing very well. He and Stephenson are similar pitchers.

    I don’t think that all the blame for Stephenson slide is on the FO or Bryan Price.

    • Clearly….it’s time for a reset…RS gets a chance to rewrite his 2017 season. Move forward.

  12. If the Reds are interested in Sonny Gray, they might consider making their move sooner than the trade deadline. By the deadline, more teams will be involved, driving the price up. Not sure if trading for him is the right thing to do, but if they are convinced it is, get a jump on the competition. And if the Reds don’t end up in contention this year — which would be a surprise to nobody — Gray will be around for a few more years.

  13. IF the Redlegs can stay close until Bailey, Brandon F., & Disco return, then it could be a fun 2nd half. They have the offense to compete.

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