Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds Drop 5th Straight

Desperately needing win tonight after dropping 4 straight in California, the Reds sent de facto ace Scott Feldman to the mound.  His counterpart, Clayton Richard, entered the game with numbers similar to, but slightly better than, Feldman’s.

The Reds are now in desperate need of a win tomorrow (today?).  They’ve lost 5 in a row since that awesome sweep of St. Louis last week.  Seems like so long ago.

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BOX SCORE | FANGRAPHS WIN PERCENTAGE

THE GOOD

-Scott Schebler had 3 hits against a lefty.  He’s now batting .339/.350/.678 against lefties this season, with 15 extra base hits.  That’s good, even if the sample is small.  One of the outstanding questions against Schebler was if he could hit lefties enough to be an everyday player.  I think he’ll be OK.

-Tucker Barnhart broke up Clayton Richard’s complete game shutout with a 2-run double in the 9th inning with 2 outs and 2 strikes.  That makes me sleep a little easier.

THE BAD

-Franchy Cordero (?) has homered in back-to-back games against the Reds.  He has less than a season’s worth of games above A-ball. Oh, he hit two homers tonight.

-For a second straight night in San Diego, the Reds prodigious offense couldn’t get much going against mediocre* pitchers.  This happens, even to good offenses, but it is no fun to watch when it does.  The Reds have been outscored 15-5 in two games against one of the worst offenses in baseball.

*Even if Clayton Richard is mediocre, he pitched well tonight.  He hit his spots and changed speeds and sides of the plate very effectively

-The Reds 8th Inning.  After Jose Peraza and Patrick Kivlehan started the inning with sharp singles, Billy and Scooter struck out in terrible at-bats.  Joey Votto worked a walk in a very good at-bat, fouling off several tough pitches.  With the bases loaded, Adam Duvall swung at a first-pitch breaking ball and weakly grounded out to third.

SOMEWHAT RANDOM-ISH THOUGHS

-Interesting article by Sam Miller for ESPN about the Padres science experiment.  Currently the experiment is yielding positive results against Agent Red.

-I’m glad they don’t, but why every team doesn’t put an infielder right behind 2nd base when facing Votto is a mystery.  He had another single up the middle tonight.  He almost never hits the ball on the ground to the shortstop or third baseman.  Now that we’re in the Shift Era, I’m surprised all teams haven’t done this against Votto.

-Scott Schebler had two infield hits.  He’s always hustling.  He’s like Ryan Freel with power.  I like Schebler.

-Decisions like the one Duvall made to swing at a first-pitch breaking ball following an 8 pitch AB from Votto against a pitcher with 110 or so pitches really, really annoy me.  It shows a basic lack of understanding of the game.  Swinging first pitch is fine; look for a fastball.  If you can’t recognize fastball versus breaking pitch, I guess you have bigger issues.

-Devin Mesoraco was rung-up on a preposterous strike call in the 9th inning.  I’m sure it is harder than it looks, but I have yet to see an umpiring job this year that I’d call adequate.

-Billy’s OPS is .592.  Votto’s “S” is .600…

-How many times has Joey Votto stood in the on-deck circle this year as the game ended?  I think it’s 4 now.  Zack Cozart has been good, and Scooter is a legend…but enough is enough.  Bat Votto 2nd NOW.  More AB for a potential HoFer is a good thing.

 

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57 thoughts on “Reds Drop 5th Straight

  1. The only problem with Votto hitting second is that he’ll be hitting immediately after Hamilton, and Cozart will be 7th.

    • I brought it up before, but Votto hit 2nd for a big stretch a few years back and Hamilton has periodically hit 9th, not use why this stopped. It is like Price is willing to do something hat is not old-school but will not stick with it and eventually reverts back to form

    • Or, Cozart can bat 3rd. Or, Hamilton can be moved down. Moving Votto up doesn’t necessitate moving up Duvall et al.

      • I know that and you know that, everyone who writes or reads this blog knows that, but the guy making the lineups doesn’t know that.

  2. If this is indeed a season of continuing sorting, perhaps the person being most sorted is turning out to be Billy Hamilton. We were told early on during the trip is was a little banged up. It looks like his speed is down. The picture being painted of what he brings to the table sans uber speed isn’t very pretty.

  3. I agree. Why on earth does Duvall swing at a first pitch breaking ball with the bases loaded, and a pitcher that just walked Votto, and is getting up there in pitch count. Also Hamilton struck out with two guys on on a 2-2 pitch way in the dirt. If he takes that pitch, its a ball, and a 3-2 count. Padres pitcher has to throw a fastball then, since I don’t think he wants to take a chance on walking Hamilton, thus loading the bases, which Hamilton should have a good pitch to hit then. Reds Players got to start user their brains in the batters box.

    • Chris Welch said the other day that Duvall hits breaking pitches well. If that’s the case, swinging at one on the first pitch is more understandable, though I, too, wish that the Reds were more patient.

      • Everyone hits fastballs better than breaking balls, though. So even if Duvall hits breaking balls well, you’d rather have him swinging at fastballs.

        • IIRC, Duvall might actually hit breaking balls better than fastballs. I can’t remember the source of the data and don’t have time to look it up at the moment but there may well be a case for him to go after a breaking ball. That said, maybe it shouldn’t be the first offering that he chases. Make the pitcher come to him in that situation.

        • True, but let me frame something for you that may make sense. On the first pitch of an AB, you should be looking for one pitch and generally one spot. While that is usually a fastball, sometimes the situation dictates that it isn’t. I thought that Duvall was looking for a “get me over” breaking-ball and he pretty much got it. He just mistimed it. I think if he was looking for something else there, he would have simply taken it.

          • In other words, I don’t think it demonstrated a fundamental misunderstanding of the game. I think he actually was looking breaking ball and just missed it.

  4. I am looking at the statistics page at mlb.com. There are 167 ranked hitters. Based on OPS, Peraza is 160/167 and Hamilton 162/167. We have two players in the starting eight in the bottom eight. Ugh.

    • The quandary is Hamilton is 16th in runs scored. If you subtract home runs from runs scored, he’s been driven in more than anyone in baseball. He scores 51% of the time he’s on base, the most in baseball. He scores runs at the same rate as a player who gets on base significantly more…..but he’s also an outs machine. He’s incredibly efficient at making outs and scoring runs……which is like a fat person who has a high metabolism.

      I’m still trying to figure out what any of that actually means.

      • It might mean that, lately, he’s playing hurt. He had a pretty good run of getting on base a few weeks ago, and really doesn’t look like the same Billy now. Billy, minus his speed, brings little to the table (plate?), but nobody hits as well with a leg/torso injury as they do healthy.

      • what it means is very few players have hit in front of 2 players with an OPS over 1000 all season, plus he has got Duvall, Suarez and Scebler to drive him in, who are all have pretty phenomenal years, Peraza probably scores the same amount had he hit in Billy’s spot, Tucker Barhart probably scores more.
        what it means is the Reds have hurt themselves overall batting one of the worst hitters in the league in the leadoff spot and cost themselves several runs

        • Perhaps….though Hamilton has been on base 78 times and has stolen 28 bases…..so 35% of the time he’s on base his speed enables him to improve the probability of scoring by being closer to home. Does that offset what is given up by the outs he makes? I’m trying to figure that out.

          • He’s been thrown out a few times. And each time he’s thrown out, it erases the value from about 3 stolen bases. So his net effect is much less than 28 stolen bases would suggest.

      • BsR. That is the best current attempt to capture this… in my opinion. Hamilton is worth more on the bases than everyone else. However, this pales in comparison to the effect he’d have if he were simply a good hitter and bad base runner.

      • I just want the best hitters to get the most at bats.

        I guess in Billy’s case when you subtracted home runs from runs scored it was an easy calculation to make in your head. Subtract one.

  5. Has anyone asked Price why he’s veered from the innovative BP usage that he started the season with and why he continues to bat Hamilton leadoff? As far as the bullpen usage goes, I think I remember seeing an article way earlier this season where Price said that he don’t think that the innovative BP usage is sustainable over the course of a long season. I guess that could explain the “departure”. As far Hamilton goes, I’m beginning to think it’s just pure stubbornness. But, what do I know!

    • It’s tough to remain innovative with your bullpen when your starters average less than 5 IPs a start.

    • Hamilton doesn’t strike me as the stubborn type. Maybe this is just as good as it gets with him.

      • Jazzmanbbfan, I wasn’t talking about Hamilton being stubborn, I was talking about Price being stubborn by seemingly refusing to move BHam from the leadoff spot.

  6. With Maddon hitting Rizzo first because of his OBP, maybe Price could do the same with Votto.

      • But batting Votto 1st would increase the Reds runs scored. So don’t dismiss an improvement just because the staff is in disarray! 🙂

  7. I understand getting swept by the Dodgers but why do they suck against the Padres out there? They are now 1-8 in California. Makes no sense.

        • Certainly fits how they’ve played the last two nights. Glad that somebody else has also been around long enough to pick up on my reference 😉

          I was actually in LA last weekend but alas, there didn’t seem to be a single baseball fan among my wife’s family folk we were hanging out with; so, no chance of making it to Dodger Stadium. Big crowds anyway for the night game; and, our flight back left at mid afternoon Sunday.

  8. Enjoy this Reds starting rotation while you can, because we may never see anything like it again for a long time. They have a cumulative ERA of 6.03 which is almost unthinkable, but here we are.

  9. 8 losses in a row in California. Arroyo vs Kershaw. Baby seals vs a club. Its not pretty:(

  10. Soooo glad we didn’t yank Arroyo in the 2nd 2 nights ago to preserve the bullpen to protect a lead in last night’s game that never materialized. If they are down again today with an off-day tomorrow you likely won’t see Iglesias/Lorenzen/Peralta until the next winnable game (Saturday). Anyone else think they’ll be rusty?

    This is the inherent flaw in Price’s strategy—that he thinks he can look forward and know which games will be competitive/winnable and which won’t. He probably thought Feldman’s start would be winnable. A reasonable assumption given the competition, but we know with baseball anything can happen, and his logic certainly doesn’t trump deliberately passing up an opportunity to try and win a game you know for certain could be competitive if you use your best players. Losing then becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

  11. The issue is the starting pitching being the worst in baseball and yet the team has done nothing to try and develop their young pitchers.Developing them to me is they go out every 5th day for 20-25 starts evaluating them as they go and working with them to improve.Two months have already been wasted and it won’t change so for me I will pick on some obvious line up flaws such as Billy hitting first or asking why not bring up Winker.I will also attack this club’s obvious lack of plate discipline and they fact they never saw a pitch they didn’t like and comments like why even throw these guys a strike.The reality is every player has flaws and there is some things that need to be done that would make sense and makes us better on offense but the reality is we are really good right now.The fact is if our starters were better or even if we were trying to develop some guys nobody would be talking about the offense.Right now though I go after the offense because we won’t win unless they put up 6 or 7 runs each night.

    • One aspect about this equation that I think is important is that the young pitchers have to earn an opportunity to step in. Garrett, Stephenson and Reed have all been pretty much battered more often than not. Does it make any more sense to allow that to continue than it does to send Arroyo out every fifth day?

      I think anyone who gets to pitch or play consistently has to earn that opportunity by performing at some level of excellence when given the chance, and none of the “top young prospects” has done that consistently. Garrett had flashes early, and maybe injury is a factor with him.

      I read somewhere that on the average, only one pitcher in any team’s entire minor league system develops into a top starting pitcher. We have to be aware of the possibility that none of the current group hovering around Class AAA will make it as an above-average starter.

      Does it not make sense that someone who is going to perform above-average in the majors should be able to perform way above average at Class AAA?

      There is hope in the lower minors and now with Hunter Greene. But I am not holding my breath on Garrett, Reed, Stephenson, Rookie Davis, etc. I would love it if they all were all-stars. But they have to have more to offer than a good scouting report to make that happen.

      • Well said. I do think there is a big difference between running those young guys out there instead of Arroyo and Feldman, who will not be in the Reds plans after this year. Those young guys may not be either as you mentioned, but the only way to truly tell is to let them face big league hitting consistently. Not all of them are ready for that and should remain in the minors to cook a bit longer, but the Reds are wasting opportunities by continuing to run these journeymen out start after start.

      • Tom, to answer your first question. The answer is an emphatic “Yes”!

        That’s because in this situation, the Reds aren’t competing for the playoffs and their primary goal is to test these young starters so that they learn how to pitch to big leaguers and so the team can learn what they have with each candidate. This notion is bolstered by the fact that the veterans that are being run out there haven’t exactly earned their spots either with the performances they have given.

        Now that innings limits concerns are waning, there is no point to keeping the veterans in the rotation. Finnegan and Bailey are returning eventually so that’s 2 less spots to give to the younger rotation candidates. It’s past time that the Reds start sorting.

      • So how did Garrett, Davis and Arroyo earn their spots? Stephenson has been fine out side of couple of bad appearances. Word on the street is that Reed had been tipping his pitches so he is working on a new grip so I can understand his lack of control for the time being.

        My main beef is that going into the season the Reds said this was a to be a season for sorting things out. Then they proceed to give their lower ceiling prospects, along with Arroyo all the chances in the world to succeed, while showing no patience with regard to the higher ceiling guys, Reed and Stephenson. With all the injuries to the starters you figure Reed and Stephenson would have more than one start between them while Davis, Arroyo and Garrett have 33 starts under their belts.

        It all makes sense though when Price mentioned a couple of weeks ago that the Reds were trying to make the playoffs. They foolishly let some early success derail their plan of development. That why in a sense I’m glad this trip has been a disaster as it strips away the illusion that the Reds are ready to compete. This way they won’t be tempted to trade some of their young talent for some 2 month rental.

  12. By the late 1920s the economy of the United States had made exceptional gains in productivity due to electrification, which was a critical factor in mass production. Horses and mules had been replaced by motorcars, trucks and tractors. One-sixth to one-quarter of farmland previously devoted to feeding horses and mules was freed up, contributing to a surplus in farm produce. Although nominal and real wages had increased, they did not keep up with the productivity gains. As a result the ability to produce exceeded market demand, a condition that was variously termed overproduction and underconsumption. Senator Smoot contended that raising the tariff on imports would alleviate the overproduction problem; however, the US had actually been running a trade account surplus, and although manufactured goods imports were rising, manufactured exports were rising even faster. Food exports had been falling and were in trade account deficit; however the value of food imports were a little over half that of manufactured imports.

    • It may be that the US economy of the 1920s was experiencing overproductivity. However, I wish the 2017 Reds had a similar problem!

  13. Tom,I have to disagree with you and say it does make more sense to let any and all get hammered rather then send Bronson out to pitch.You don’t know if they can or not until they pitch.Reed has 11 starts in the big leagues,Stephensen 8 and not sure on Garrett but that tells me or anybody nothing about if they can become a big league starter.Garrett had flashes of it as you said but it was 3 or 4 starts and then has got hammered so is he or not going to make it?Don’t know unless he goes out and pitches.Consistent and top young prospects especially pitchers don’t belong in the same sentence.The only way you learn to pitch at the big league level is to pitch at the big league level.All of these guys have control problems which is normal but they can get away with some of that in the minors because of the hitters.In the majors it don’t work.I respect your opinion very much I just don’t agree with it.

    • I understand your side of the argument, James. I just want to see people who I feel have earned a shot because they have shown they can be way above average at Class AAA. Reed and Garrett have career ERA’s in the bigs over 7, and Stephenson is at 6.86, and that’s more than just a handful of innings for each. I guess in summary I feel that the expectation that these guys are going to pave the way to the next good Reds team, and that it’s just a matter of time before that happens, may be unfounded.

      It’s my belief that Adleman is at least a fifth starter on any team in the majors, but he is often brushed aside in these discussions and considerations. I like the fact that the majority of his starts have been quality starts, and that he is being rewarded for that by starting every fifth day. He’s over 25 years of age and doesn’t have the heater, but he still gets people out. Of course I’m not saying that I want a starting rotation full of Tim Adlemans, but it’s my feeling you’d have a better shot of some degree of success long-term with a rotation of Adlemans than a rotation of Reeds and Stephensons.

      I do understand the argument that there is a much better chance of Reed or Stephenson “figuring it out” and using their natural physical gifts for success. With Adleman, what you see at his age is what you’re going to get.

      At this point, flip a coin between him and Feldman as to the best starting pitcher in the organization who can compete at the major league level. (I know the cavalry is on the way from the injured list.) I’m just at that point where frustration is really kicking in, and I want to see someone pitch who has a chance to pitch at least a quality start every game.

      I’m just venting a bit. Thank you for tolerating it. 🙂

      • I, for one, am not complaining about Adelman getting starts. Heck, I’m not even complaining about Feldman getting starts. Arroyo on the other hand….

        I like Adelman a lot. He know how to pitch and he gets guys out. He’s probably a #5 or long reliever but he’s done enough to show me he should be in the rotation right now. He doesn’t have the ceiling but the floor isn’t low with him. He’s an MLB pitcher.

        • Absolutely. I did not do a complete and comprehensive study, but one day I began looking through the five-man rotations of each MLB team, and could not find one on which Adleman would not fit in at least as the fifth starter. If it’s me running the show, Homer, Finnegan and DeSclafani have rotation spots when they get back, and so does Adleman if he continues pitching as he is. Garrett has slot number five if he continues pitching as he did today.

  14. I know this much about pitching

    When your announcers say nearly every night that your starter wouldn’t have been drafted based on his current stuff….then you’re doing something wrong? I think Sunday was the last straw for me watching them live. I can catch the whole recorded beatdown in a few minutes.

  15. Tom,Reed did dominate at AAA but it sure hasn’t transferred to the majors.Garrett pitched very little at AAA but was dominate in AA and most including me just went goofy when he had those 3 really really good starts especially that 12 strike out performance.We know what happened after that but he still needs to go back out there every 5th day and not because of the 3 good starts its because of the bad ones.I share your frustration and venting is what I do.

    • To be fair they put up Cody Reed vs the ultra patient Cubs for his one start then that was it? He should’ve got 2-3 weeks in AAA then right back in the Reds rotation. I don’t know what they’re doing other then losing & driving fans away.

  16. Excellent post by Patrick Jeter and the discussion by James Garrett and Tom Mitsoff. My lineup would be Cozart, Votto, Suarez, Duvall, Schebler, Peraza, Mesoraco/Barnhart, Hamilton, Pitcher. I do not fault Price on having Hamilton lead off. The organization is giving Hamilton the best shot it can to prove he belongs as a regular. So far, he is proving to be worthless as a hitter but a gem defensively. I love his speed on the bases but at least twice this year he has been thrown out attempting to steal 3rd with 2 outs and Votto at the plate. This is dumb baseball on his part. Regarding Reed and Stephenson, I think it was smart to send them down and have them start at Louisville. Based on performance they will get another chance to start in the majors this year. Reed looks the better of the 2 now but I bet Stephenson earns a shot. I do not see Rookie Davis as a MLB pitcher. Garrett has had some rough outings. Hopefully he does not keep getting battered and loses confidence. We all know the challenge for the Reds to become competitive is building an effective 5 man rotation. It is a work in process. I would love to see a staff of DeSclafani, Finnegan, Bailey, Reed, Stephenson with Garrett, Mahle and Adleman filling in for the 2 or 3 who don’t make the grade, DeSlafani may have long term arm problems. Bailey needs to prove he can come back from Tommy John surgery and serious elbow issues.The young guys will get another chance or two.

  17. Reed and Stephenson need to work on having repeatable mechanics (motion, grip, release point, etc.) to be successful in the ML. If they get hammered in 3 or 4 innings every start, they are not getting enough work on each turn to actually develop consistency in their pitching delivery. Each one will look good for an inning or two, and then appear to lose the strike zone, or start to make bad pitches.
    Recalling Johnny Cueto and his ML debut year, he would pitch well in some starts, and get hammered in others. I could live with that, because there were starts where he showed consistency. And he built on that, and became consistently good.

    If Reed or Stephenson could show games of consistency, then it would be tolerable if they got their heads beat in some nights. It would feel like in some way, they were moving forward. But in the ML, they still seem to exhibit the same problems with control (walks) and location (pitches in the good hitting zone).
    Yes, they have the physical talent, but they also have to understand and EXECUTE in some ways, pitching in the Majors. Velocity alone will not win games, when ML hitters are looking Dead Red in the strike zone because the count is in their favor.
    I have looked at Reed’s box scores, and for the most part, he is still issuing a lot of walks. And Stephenson is probably worse. They can get away with this in AAA, because the overall quality of hitting is lower, but piling up walks in the ML will just get them hammered.
    I don’t have an answer, but if I were a decision maker with the Reds, that would be part of my thinking.

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