2017 Reds / Titanic Struggle Recap

Reds need a win? Better Call Scooter

When you lose 13 of your last 14, expectations are low. When Michael Taylor, a toothpick of a centerfielder, takes you yard twice in an 18-3 blowout prompting the classic “is this guy actually good or is this opposing them just this bad?” article, expectations get even lower. When you have nothing left to lose (your dignity took its leave after the 8th or 9th loss) and your (probable) All-Star shortstop is sitting injured on the bench and you have to city hop from Washington D.C. to St. Louis back to Cincinnati over the course of three days, expectations are so low that a 6-4 win starts to resemble flying pig levels of unattainable.

But a 6-2 win?

Better call Scooter.

Cincinnati Reds 6 | Washington Nationals 2 | Scooter Gennett Folk Hero

The Good

—Scooter Gennett started his day with a healthy bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios and a cold glass of milk. Once finished, he decided he was still hungry and devoured two pieces of toast, three eggs sunny side up, four pieces of bacon, and another bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. He washed it all down with a second glass of cold milk. Once at the ballpark, Scooter prepared for the game, going through his usual stretches and warm ups. Adoring fans watched at rapt attention. Even a Nationals fan had the folk hero sign their baby.

The rest of his day was mundane. A bloop single in the first brought back memories of his historic four home run game—

—so he hit a solo jack in the second just to show he’s still got the juice. (He took a knee in the process, acknowledging that no one man is better than the game of baseball even if everyone else is telling him so.)

Following that effort, Scooter decided to show off his fielding prowess, ripping a perfect cut off throw from just behind first to the plate, nailing the runner by a good four feet. Bryce Harper didn’t get an RBI because of that throw. Scooter then hit singles in his next two at bats, finishing his day 4 for 5 and leaving the park with a quiet rumbling in his stomach, a satisfaction with his conquests over Bryce Harper, and a desire for a third glass of milk.

—Not quite the folk hero as his Sco-prefix counterpart, Scott Feldman also had himself quite the day. In fact, by WPA standards, Scott Feldman did more for this Reds’ team than did Scooter (0.14 WPA to Scooters 0.13). Feldman’s blasphemy stemmed from a 7.0 inning, two-run outing, with five strikeouts and only one Michael Taylor home run allowed. Personally, I thought Feldman was done after the third inning when Bryce Harper and Daniel Murphy threatened on the corners, but Feldman persevered and proved me, and the trend of Reds’ pitchers, wrong.

—Billy Hamilton started the Reds five-run, bat-around-the-lineup first inning, so he deserves a mention here. Billy hit a double. He didn’t hit anything else until the ninth inning when his legs got him an infield single. Something about Billy bookending a whole lot of nothing with power and speed just feels right.

—Tucker Barnhart hit a scorching double just off the tip of Bryce Harper’s glove to bring in the final two runs in that first inning rout, so he also gets a mention. Anytime Bryce Harper is made to look silly is worth a mention in my book.

The Bad

—The Reds have still lost 13 of 15, but at least that number isn’t 14 of 15.

Not So Random Thoughts

—Tomorrow is Brandon Finnegan Starts for the Fourth Time This Season Day, a holiday usually celebrated in April but this year moved to June for unforeseen circumstances. I shall hopefully be celebrating the joyous occasion in the unfriendly confines of Busch Stadium.

—Joe Blanton pitched 1.1 innings of scoreless baseball today for the Nationals. Maybe the Reds should’ve traded Joey Votto for him back in the day. That’s a full out past a single inning.

—Raisel Iglesias pitched 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball so maybe the Reds are better off as is. Definitely up for debate.

63 thoughts on “Reds need a win? Better Call Scooter

  1. Feldman, Scooter and Iggy lead the way. With this performance Feldman is now the temporary ace of the staff.

    • It’s way past time to make scooter the reds regular 2nd baseman,use peraza off bench or trade him

      • I don’t know what to make of Scooter. It’s still a small sample of data, but I certainly want to believe it’s real. His defense today (even beyond the relay to naiul Goodwin at the plate) was superb. I certainly don’t want to unload Peraza yet. Peraza certainly has some growing to do as a major league player, but he has talent.

        Beyond Gennett and Peraza, Blandino is making a case. Since his promotion to AAA. Blandino is hitting a scorching 1.200 OPS with 2-2B in 10 PA. With Herrera on the DL, Blandino figures to get a lot of playing time, mostly at 3B, even in a crowded Bats infield.

        • Thanks for that. I’m aware of Long but, somehow, I keep forgetting about Blandino. What’s the impression of his defensive capability?

          • He made his 2nd error since coming to AAA tonight. He’s playing 3B for the Bats due to all the IF on the roster. The error tonight was a throwing error. He also went 1-2 w/ 2-BB at the plate tonight.

  2. Feldman has performed at a league average rate.Better so far then Cueto and that big ball park,better then Arrieta and better then Lackey.Take away his big innings that he has had in his bad games and he has been really good.Much needed win today and just like the Rays series they could have taken 2 out of 3.Really anxious to see Castillo’s next start because he battled against a great hitting Nationals team and also got welcomed to the big league strike zone.

    • I’m with you James. Feldman has done a fine job for the Reds this season. Thangs could have gone better without those ugly blips, but things could also have gone worse with a key knock here or there. I think the Reds will get some inquiries regarding Feldman prior to the trading deadline. I also have Castillo’s next start circled on the calender.

    • The world of Reds baseball certainly feels a lot better today than it did yesterday.

      • Amazing what a single win against a team headed to the playoffs (with a bullet so far) will do for morale on this forum.

  3. Geesh! Cody Reed gets tossed from the game tonight after pitching just 2.0 innings for arguing the umpires strike zone after being called out on strikes in the bottom of the 2nd.

    That certainly doesn’t help when trying to earn your way back to the Bigs, but it sounded like the home plate umpire was having a tough game anyway and had just had enough when Reed made some comment after being called out.

    • Too much chirping will do that. I have to remember the umps all are trying to work up to The Show as well. I’ve only done rec league softball, but I have at least a little empathy. Sometimes it’s a no-win situation.

  4. With the glut of starting pitching at AAA, Wojo is apparently pitching out of the bullpen after being DFA’d. Winker was a late scratch from the Bats lineup tonight. No word yet on why.

  5. Sal Romano has been very hittable in his 4 starts for the Bats since coming off the DL, giving up 25 hits in just 17 IP resulting in 11 ER for a whopping 5.82 ERA.

  6. It doesn’t seem like Romano is ready? What happened to Tyler Mahle? He hasn’t pitched since 6/16? The Reds should put Reed back in the rotation over Adleman and release Wood. They know what they have in Adleman already. I also wonder if they could resign Feldman for another 1 yr deal? Adleman is similar but Feldman keeps the ball in the park better (11 hrs in 90 ip as opposed to 13-69ip w/Adleman). I know its just one start but I don’t see Homer being in the top 5 unless they force him in like Matt Cain with SF or something? 93 mph fastball pitchers are in trouble in todays game! You better have huge movement and solid breaking stuff like Feldman. I just don’t see it but he’ll be in the mix too. Surely we can find 5 good arms to open up next year?

    • Does Kershaw generally throw faster than 93? I think that any pitcher who doesn’t have good control–including in the strike zone–is in trouble, whether they throw 90 or 98. We just can’t read anything into Homer’s first start after multiple surgeries and long rehab.

  7. Today…ahhhh…..awesome. We should’ve taken two from the Nats. The way we blew game one was so typical and, today, I had another sense of impending doom. Fortunately, we lucked out. This team needs to strike early and hard, especially against teams with better pitching. This, unfortunately, is where the Billy Hamilton futility factor must be removed. I’m sorry but every time I see him hit a pop fly to the left fielder, especially in the first inning, I want to puke. If he were on base 40% of the time, this team would probably be 500 or so. The non-selective “hacking” done by so many of our players is maddening. We’re letting mediocre pitchers off the hook by lowering their pitch counts.

    I like Feldman and I liked Strailey. If the latter were with us, we’d at least be in some of these games. I would not trade Feldman. So many of the pundits on this site think a group of these kids is nearly ready…really???….which one. One good outing does not a starter make (case in point – Amir Garrett). I hope we can turn this thing around but the convoluted pitching assignments ( I hope we NEVER see Bronson again…EVER)…and acceptance of Billy-ball and Peraza-ball just has to be reconsidered.

    • Billy was 4 for 10 in his last two games. Scored the first run yesterday. When you lose 18-3, it’s reasonable to consider that the pitching is the problem, which it is. It’s certainly possible that BH will never be an adequate hitter, but he was better earlier in the season, and may be again. My main point is that Reds’ offense has been good while their starting pitching has been hideous. Why look for demons in the closet when they’re right in front of you?

      • If he wasn’t leading off and the Reds weren’t carrying his offensive twin in Peraza then it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Plus Winker has done about all he can do in AAA. Something needs to happen with him? Its too easy to say Billy would be a great defensive replacement/pinch runner since he’s young and would want to start for someone.

        • I can’t disagree that BH and Peraza often leave a lot to be desired at the top of the lineup, Indy. But, in spite of that, the Reds score runs. The biggest problem is that the pitchers give up even more runs, lately, at least.

  8. Since no one else is said it , “it’s Scooter’s world and we’re just living in it”

  9. I came out of my Sunday alternate activity just in time to hear MartyB call the play where Duvall hit the ball hard back up the middle which deflected off the Nats pitcher to Trea Turner who fielded it for a forceout at 2B. Marty concluded his call with a comment of that was how the month was going for Duvall.

    This didn’t quite ring true to my recollection; so, I checked it out. Through Saturday’s game, Duvall’s slash line for June was .288/.350/.507 with a wRC+ of 121. 6 months like this would make for quite a season.

    • You know with Marty it is all about RBI’s and production.
      He mentioned that Duvall had 28 RBI’s in May and just 3 in June. He had 17 in April. On Runs, Duval has 16 April, 14 May, and just 9 in June. And HR’s, Duvall has 7 in April and May and just 2 in June.
      Duvall’s production has been way down in June. And with Marty it is always, what have you done for me lately?

      • This is a classic clash between “traditional” stats and Sabremetrics. Sunday’s game has posted to Fangraphs. For the month of June to date, Duvall now has an OPS of .870. That’s higher than his April or May OPS. His June wRC+ is 124 which is slightly better than May (119) and much better than April (110).

        The wRC+ formula says he’s should be creating runs at a rate 24% above league average. Is it his fault if he is not used in a way to best take advantage of this?

        • You know in the beginning I was a antisabermetrics guy. To old for that crap. Got tired of listening to Patrick Jeter and his numbers. Well the old guy is coming around and I find myself looking at those numbers now. They don’t lie.

          • Patrick and I hadn several interesting discussions inside threads here about the concepts which are captured in Runs Expected (RE24) which is an emerging stat I hope becomes one of the staples.

        • Only thing I really have against run-expectancy tables (RE24) is they are completely context neutral. They are a fair guide but it must be kept in mind that they don’t take into account: who is batting, who is pitching, who is on-deck, where the defense is positioned, how tired the pitcher is, and a host of other information. They are good for saying, in this base/out situation, you can expect x runs. That’s it. For some basic analysis that is useful but when someone says that a bunt was the wrong move because RE24 tables say so, isn’t taking into account all the variables. I’m just using the bunt example because it’s the most common. In most cases, a sac bunt is the wrong move. Not a fan of bunts.

          • True, It is saying what happened MLB wide in any give RE24 situation. So in that sense, grading an individual, it the same logic as expressed with OPS+ or FIP+ et al.

            A person with access to the raw data and a database jockey could quickly project custom subsets based on most anything they wanted to. I.E. this is what the league (or a group of hitters) did versus Homer Bailey at GABP when his pitch count was >90 and <100 etc.

  10. So when Cozart comes off DL, then what? I know what should happen but also knowing Price, he’ll probably put Peraza back at 2B and Scooter will be on the bench. IMO, there’s no way you can take Scooter out. Peraza’s OBP is beyond woeful.

  11. Solid win yesterday as Jason asked for and received.

    It’s too bad Baily didn’t at least have some success on Saturday, but not all that surprising. I’ll be happy if he is just pitches without pain the rest of the season and starts to see Feldman-like success by the end of the season.

    After being solid to start the year, it seems over the last few weeks the bullpen has hit a rougher patch (see Friday night) but not overly concerned.

    The good thing about Scooter’s play this year is that it gives you some options with peraza and Herrera. It allows you to be patient with herrera’s struggles at AAA and also allows some thoughts on converting one of the two youngster to CF perhaps to alleviate the log-jam in the middle infield. All options on the table when it comes to sorting.

  12. If Homer stays healthy he will be fine.He will pitch at his career numbers which is good enough and it will help the team by solidifying the rotation.I expect Finny to do the same if healthy and Disco as well.As Chuck reminded me when you lose 3 of your starting 5 every team is in trouble.I think we are still a 75 win team with health but we have to sort through these young starters some how.Castillo’s velocity plays in the majors but just like every young pitcher he must throw strikes.He did that in the minors but its a different ball game up here as all of the rest have found out.I know its beating a dead horse but this is why I like learning to pitch in the big leagues.Your performance in the minors earns you a shot but it doesn’t guarantee you success.Castillo’s control in his first start was just like what I expected.Smaller zone and better hitters means more walks.As for Feldman he was real good yesterday and Scooter should play until he proves he can’t get the job done.Billy is what he is and unless he gets bigger and stronger he still won’t be able to hit.The one alarming thing is that he strikes out a lot which is death when you have no power.

  13. Jim Day threw a cold, wet blanket on any possible Zack Cozart trade possibilities yesterday during the telecast. He said that Cozart’s quad muscle will probably bother him the rest of the year and that it will be something that Cozart will have to deal with until the off-season.
    Hard to imagine any possible trade suitors taking on an injured SS that is a pulled muscle away from a lengthy DL stint. If the Reds are intent on trading Cozart, it might have to come in a package deal with a prospect or two, to get a good prospect back. it’d probably be less likely that they could package up Cozart with Feldman or Storen.

  14. Somewhat disturbing news on Cozart yesterday from Jim Day during the game. Apparently Zack’s quad ‘won’t be right the rest of the season’ but he is going to play through it. As a guy trying to make the all-star team and a pending free agent to boot, the motivation for him is strong, but you have to wonder if he could hurt himself further.

    In related news, Addison Russell has been dealing with a shoulder impingement for the entire season and is looking at a DL trip. As much as I detest the Cubs, Cozy would be a great fit on a veteran win-now ballclub.

    • Interesting about Russell. Somebody has to be willing to make the first move to break down the intra divisional trade barrier though. That always seems a difficult thing to do during the season.

      Then there’s Cozart’s health which apparently is more iffy than we had originally been led to believe per the comment below yours.

  15. More complications w/Cozart’s “injury”? If they can’t trade him then they really need to pass on resigning him. I was for resigning him a month ago but he just has too many nagging injuries. The problem is Peraza needs to play as much as possible this season! They are going nowhere this year so gaining information on the youngsters should be the #1 PRIORITY!!!! Peraza, Winker, Castillo, Reed, etc etc. They could occasionally sit Zack, Suarez, an outfielder, etc and mix-n-match to get Peraza 4-5 starts a week but I don’t trust Price to figure that out…or if u believe the front office determines everything and Price is just a puppet? Either way…Peraza rides a lot of pine. Winker is back in AAA. Its stupid….not Arroyo stupid but stupid nonetheless.

  16. Ultimately, the Reds future depends on pitching. And for all the GREAT PROSPECTS drafted and shepherded though the farm system, the Reds have pretty much produced squat for young starting pitching.
    Castillo looks promising, but he was traded for. The Reds can still mess him up.
    Romano is stinking it up at AAA now.
    Reed (traded for) is still struggling with control
    Stephenson is going backwards, in many ways. Or, was he just over rated in a weak farm system?
    Tyler Mahle has been great up through AA, but now is one step away from The Show. I guess we shall see.
    Amir Garrett, after YEARS of going back and forth between baseball and basketball, dedicated himself to baseball, and still is erratic.

    I could go on, but really, there is only one thing left to say. Wait ’till next year!
    (facepalm)

  17. On June 8th, after sweeping the Cardinals, the Reds stood at 29-30. To that point, their schedule had been split almost right down the midddle between bad teams and good teams. Since then, the Reds have played perhaps the 2 best teams in the NL ( on the road) a bad Padries team in SD and a solid Rays team.

    2.5 weeks ago, the Reds weren’t very good. However, they were good enough to beat up on bad teams, particularly at home. Since then it’s been mostly very good teams on the road. In general, they’re beating the teams they should beat and losing to the teams that are simply better than they happen to be.

    The 1975 Reds went 21-22 against the Dodgers, Pirates and Phillies. Subsequently they left behind a trail of destruction known only to the residents of Dresden, Germany against the Braves, Astros, Cubs and Padres. The Reds weren’t as good as they seemed to be early and aren’t as bad as they seem to be now. They’re a 72-77 win team that is acting like a 72-77 win team.

    • Slaughterhouse Five by my Indy hero Kurt Vonnegut! Good nickname for the Reds rotation so far too:)

      • Vonnegut should throw out the first pitch when they return home….a tip of the cap to you, Indy

        • Died in NYC a few years ago but they did name a street after him in downtown Indy!

          • He should still throw out the first pitch, though. And if it’s a strike, they should offer him a rotation spot.

    • We tried to warn of the impending June collapse with the schedule the Reds were facing. It got a little euphoric after the Cards sweep. After the Cards sweep, the Reds were off to a 5-2 start in June. Reds scored 44 runs and gave up 30 in those first 7 games. In the following 15 games the Reds are 2-13 scoring 57 runs and giving up 104. Reds pitching has given up at least 8 runs in 7 games in June. They have given up at least 6 runs in 12 games in June. Just brutal pitching, starting and relieving.

    • Unfortunately for the Reds, the nearest thing they have to a soft spot in the schedule until they see the Marlins deep into July are these next six games versus the Brewers and Cubs. On the other side of the coin, the same two teams are the toughest spots in all of August. Of course by then, who knows what the Reds personnel will be or how motivated they will be.

  18. Lets try this approach to find 5 capable starters for next year

    Group 1….Disco, Finnegan, and Homer = 2
    Group 2….Resign Feldman or Adleman as a consolation = 1
    Group 3….Castillo, Lorenzen, Mahle, Garrett, Reed, Romano, Bob Steve, etc = 2

    It shouldn’t be that difficult to find atleast a league average staff there and better mop-up guys then Bonilla that turn 5 run deficits into 10 run deficits!

    • Or as Jason Linden suggested yesterday here on RLN, quit hoping for a change of fortune internally and go out in the off season and get somebody who should be a solid #2 at worst.

      https://redlegnation.com/2017/06/25/lets-win/

      Personally, depending on what they see the rest of the season, particularly from Bailey and Finnegan, I’d be inclined to sign one FA at the level Jason suggested and to also try to trade for somebody positioned similar to where Latos (or Volquez) was when they were acquired via trade.

      • Everyone talks about Sonny Gray but I like lefty Sean Manaea with the A’s! A big workhorse type guy with CC Sabathia type potential. His era is a little high at 4.05 but only allowing .207 batt avg, 1.15 whip, and 7 hrs in 73 ip. Oakland needs a lot of help but their outfield is really old!

      • There is a big-4 of SP on the impending free agent list. Arrieta, MadBum, Cueto, and Darvish. MadBum has an option and Cueto an opt-out, so they may not be a part.
        Kind of a mixed bag on remaining list. Chris Tillman, Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Michael Pineda, Tyler Chatwood, Trevor Cahill, and Jordan Lyles.
        I like Tyler Chatwood even if he is with the Rockies. Great ground ball pitcher. Maybe Alex Cobb.

    • Indy…you are right on with groupings…I’d go a step further and say 2 tiers.

      You need 2 top tier starters…guys who can pitch 200 innings..make 30 starts…win 15-20 games and beat good teams on the road and pitch in the postseason in games 1 and 2 and 6/7.

      The 2nd tier are guys who can pitch 160-180 innings…make 25-30 starts and win double digit games and give your team a shit to win every time they take the ball.

      I don’t see any top tier guys with Homer and Disco s injuries…… there are many candidates to be tier 2 guys. For that reason…I can’t see any scenario the Reds win 90-94 games in 2018.

      • Unless they bring in a couple of top tier guys from outside the org. It is either do that or be spinning their wheels while this current positional corps ages out/ becomes too expensive.

        • I think they have to go for the KC model. Decent/competitive starters and lockdown bullpen and defense! Just get to the playoffs and get hot. Hope your manager doesn’t screw it up. Kershaw’s career playoff era is 4.55 so just having an “ace” isn’t everything.

  19. Bronson Arroyo has been moved to the 60 day DL to open a 40 man roster spot for Brandon Finnegan who is coming off the 60 day DL this afternoon. This all but seals the deal that Arroyo’s career has ended unless they bring him back for some sort of cameo good bye appearance in September.

    The remaining part of the Finnegan transaction to get him to the 25 man active list is that Lisalverto Bonilla has been optioned back to AAA.

    • Bonilla is a interesting to me. Fastball is 93 or so w/movement and his delivery is a little tricky…looks like Volquez. His changeup is great and decent curve. I don’t know? Obviously he got hammered and walks half the park but he’s got an idea up there and I hope they find regular work for him.

      • This season’s Keyvius Sampson? Although I don’t believe Bonilla’s AAA starting run was nearly as good as Sampson’s last season; and he is older. Still similar in that both looked better as a starter than out of the pen.

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