Welcome to the midsummer 2017 edition of April and May 2016.

You’ll remember that after the Reds started 2016 with a 5-1 record, they proceeded to lose 34 of the next 46 games. Since June 8, 2017, Cincinnati has lost 13 of 14, and the upcoming schedule is foreboding. The next 23 games are against teams that are currently either first or second in their division. As we have seen recently against the Dodgers and Nationals, those are not good matchups for the Reds as currently constituted.

(6/25/17 8:25 p.m. EDT correction: Four of the 23 games are against Colorado, currently in third place in the NL West — but with the third-best record in the National League.) 

As the starting pitching continues to be the worst in baseball, the relief corps and starting eight that carried the club to a 29-30 through the first 59 games have begun to return to earth.

The next month might be the most important in-season month of the current rebuild process. If the Reds can hang somewhat close to .500 during the next 23-game span, it will be cause for great optimism, and perhaps a renewal of the hope from earlier in the year that perhaps a corner has been turned.

If, however, the losing continues at its present rate – even after the return of Homer Bailey and Brandon Finnegan to the rotation – there will be real questions and doubt about whether the rebuild can be successfully achieved with the current core of players. We are likely to learn whether the 29-30 record in a small 59-game sample size, or the 1-13 record in an even smaller 14-game sample size, is more representative of this roster’s potential.

As the Houston Astros went through this process, they had consecutive season records of 56-106, 55-107 and 51-111 in 2011 through 2013. While the Reds have not been close to that poor of a record, it feels to some die-hard fans at Redleg Nation like they are still that far away from real progress.

While the temptation may be to throw your hands up and say, “See you next year,” the next 23 games against very good teams will give us a chance to see just how this Reds team compares to top-level competition. It will either be a source of hope, or a reality check that this process is nowhere near as far along as we may have believed.

Starting Pitchers

Name IP ERA xFIP K% BB%
Scott Feldman 83.2 4.20 4.15 19.4% 8.0%
Tanner Roark 86.2 4.88 4.43 18.4% 7.7%

Today’s matchup is about as close as you can get to clones facing off against one another. We know that Feldman can run very hot or very cold, and the same can be said for Roark. Anything is possible today, including a chance for some of the Reds’ slumping hitters, particularly Billy Hamilton, to get some good pitches to hit.

Bullpen

Manager Bryan Price kept all of his “high-leverage” relievers out of yesterday’s massacre, so in a close game, they should all be available. If Feldman struggles and needs to be pulled early, Lisalverto Bonilla and Ariel Hernandez are probably unavailable in long relief after throwing 3.1 and 2 innings, respectively, yesterday. If Feldman struggles and the game gets out of hand, he may be asked to “take one for the team” and get through at least five or six innings.

Starting Lineups

Reds Nationals
CF Billy Hamilton SS Trea Turner
2B Scooter Gennett CF Brian Goodwin
1B Joey Votto RF Bryce Harper
LF Adam Duvall 2B Daniel Murphy
RF Scott Schebler 3B Anthony Rendon
3B Patrick Kivlehan 1B Adam Lind
SS Jose Peraza CF Michael Taylor
C Tucker Barnhart C Jose Lobaton
P Scott Feldman P Tanner Roark

Patrick Kivlehan gets the start today at third base, giving Eugenio Suarez a day off. His offensive production has dipped considerably this month (.209/.365/.693) and a day off is probably a good idea. Kivlehan continues to open eyes when he gets his chances.

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

Join the conversation! 118 Comments

  1. Good article, very precise and realistic. I’d add the fact that to turn the corner, under any circunstance and in any given season, a new manager should be in town.

    • I agree on the new manager in town but since this season has come down to sorting I hope Price’s contract is not renewed at seasons end.

      • I agree. Not all is fault but does he even think about the lineup or just copy and paste from the past 2 weeks. He keeps rolling Hamilton out at leadoff. Maybe drop him down, give him a day off, etc. Hopefully, today he’ll go 2 or 3 for 4 but I doubt it. OBP is .286. That’s 74th out of 80 NL players. Not so good Bryan Price. Do you even look? While we’re at it, Peraza’s is 77th!

  2. It hasn’t been just a bad June for Suarez. His line since May 6 (43 games with 41 starts) is .221/.330/.356/.685, and 4 HR.

    The only saving grace is a strong walk rate. He’s not getting hits, nor is he hitting for much power.

  3. Barnhart again? Mesoraco looks good but still only has 96 atbats? Even our guys that produce like Mesoraco & Cozart are so brittle that they have little trade value?

    Short of Hunter Greene turning into Doc Gooden Part 2 and striking out 250 people at 19….can’t see this group competing? They’ll have a new manager and hopefully better day to day decisions. Sensible lineups, etc but even if they find a top notch manager that probably only equals 3-4 wins on the season. Winker needs to be playing! They could’ve found 3-4 starts a week for him and cut Alcantara instead. The whole point of rebuild is finding out information and they don’t get that and the front office has to stay unfortunately.

    • This is my opinion only, but I believe Price is being told by the front office certain things he must do — such as batting Hamilton leadoff. A manager who knows his contract is up after this season would not, I don’t believe, continue to hit someone batting as poorly as Hamilton at leadoff. (Remember, he did have Hamilton batting ninth for a period last year.)

      I believe there is an understanding between Price and Dick Williams that there are certain front-office-dictated moves that Price must adhere to, with the understanding that this is a rebuild and the front office has specific information it wants to gather — such as, is Hamilton suited for leadoff long-term?

  4. Nice start … now Scooter can bunt him over to third.

  5. Have to like this kind of start. 2 runs in, runner on 2nd with nobody out.

  6. Radio feed talking about the Nats needing a solid #3 guy for a playoff run. I’m not convinced Strasburg is as solid a #2 as they’d like to believe (at least not anymore).

    • I’m not sure what you mean. This season, he’s performed like a top 20 starter, maybe top 10.

  7. OK … that works. Keep driving up Roark’s pitch count, boys!

  8. I like Tucker … very consistent player, good catcher, and he can strike the ball. Can Roark hit 40 pitches in the 1st?

    • One trade possibility that isn’t talked about a lot is the Reds right now have, in effect, two starting catchers. If some team’s starter gets injured, the Reds could get some quality prospects for either Barnhart or Mezoraco. I’d rather hold on to Barnhart, who still has three full years under team control after this one.

      • I tend to agree … though is the contract for Mez plus his injury history a bit of an albatross? I can see him going to the AL where he can DH.

      • Who’s going to take on Meso’s contract for 215 atbats? Evidently he’d come apart like a snowman in Florida if they played him 4x a week?

  9. Wow….they have the bats out today! Seems like we usually jump out 1-2 to nothing on the road and lose but a 5 spot is a little different! They did blow 5-1 on Friday night though?

    • Yeah, the cynic in me says, the Nationals have us right where they want us.

    • Roark isn’t good today … let’s see if Feldman can hold things together. These Nats mash the ball … so the challenge is on.

  10. Well this won’t work … let’s hope Murphy can run into a DP ball.

  11. Marty loves some “sabermetrics” … specifically “working the count”

  12. I just got back from seeing both of the last 2 games in DC. I think the Reds pitchers had a 1-2-3 inning ONCE in 2 games

  13. Heavy.Sigh.Of.Relief

  14. Off topic, but I found this interesting just because of the NL Central ties (originally) and our experiment with Alonso in LF … from MLB Trade Rumors:

    Matt Adams is drawing trade interest, which isn’t a surprise given how he has been crushing the ball since joining the Braves. Whether Atlanta looks to move Adams or not will depend on whether Freddie Freeman is capable of playing third base, thus allowing Adams to stay at first base. Moving Adams into a corner outfield spot is problematic since the Braves would then have to deal Matt Kemp or Nick Markakis, not to mention the defensive shortcomings Adams displayed while playing the outfield for the Cardinals earlier this season.

  15. Keep.Scooter.

  16. Anybody watching … did he golf that one? Gameday had it very low and in on Scooter.

  17. When Cozart comes back there is no way Peraza should start over Gennett at 2nd. He is only 27.

    • Agreed … Scooter really needs to play if he’s this consistent. And we keep him rather than trade him.

    • As I mentioned in a comment above, I believe there are some managerial moves that are being dictated to Price by the front office, including playing Peraza regularly. Until Cozart is traded, Peraza will be playing every day at second or short, and Gennett will be the “super-utility” guy. But after Cozart is traded, certainly Gennett has earned the chance to start at second with Peraza at short.

    • The guy this could be really hurting is Herrera. If he can’t get healthy and show something, he’s going to get passed up by Blandino, Shed Long, etc.

  18. Scooter Tater!

  19. Let Roark off the hook a bit … only up to 54 pitches.

    • They got 6 runs off of him. Going to the bullpen would benefit the Nats.

      • True enough … and he isn’t really struggling as much with the strike zone.

  20. Nats announcer compared Scooter to Lynn Dykstra. I can see that. Especially the way he is playing now.

  21. Scooter! He could be a guy that will only drop off if you play him every day but maybe 400 atbats? Rest him vs most lefties, etc. When Senzel is ready then Suarez might have to go back to SS? Good problem to have but bad for Peraza. He’s not beating out Senzel and he’s not beating out anything close to the 2017 version of Scooter either?

    • Peraza is still very young … but he still seem lost so often at the plate. Perhaps he could move to CF if we end the Billy experiment? Of course, that means he bats lead-off because … rules …

      • He played center a little bit last year and was not good at all.

        • Knew he played … couldn’t remember if he was any good. Still not convinced he’s the future at SS.

        • I just think Schebler is a better athlete then people think and GABP has a small outfield. I think they could atleast try him in CF fulltime? They have to do something w/Winker at some point? To me its a no-brainer w/Billy. He’s about what he is….not as bad as he’s been lately but if he gets hot for a month then get the DL ready. Its all about Winker. Thats why he should’ve played everyday and in the outfield. They have no idea how a rebuild is supposed to work?

        • Suarez was not a good third baseman when he first started playing there so possibly there is hope the Peraza can improve??? Or am I grasping at straws?

          • Dusty agrees with you, he said regarding his own Nats guys, if you played shortstop you can play centerfield

  22. Very manageable/serviceable 2 innings by Feldman so far …

  23. I like Schebler as well … very nice stroke. Seems to have good (and developing) plate discipline and coverage.

  24. 3 innings of Mr. Consistent Feldman … not sure we’ve seen that in DC this series. Feels a little strange.

    • He’s playing with fire…but so far so good. 60 pitches though

      • Agreed … and I’ll take it at this point vs. what we’ve seen. I’m giving plenty of slack to Homer since he’s not faced MLB hitting (let alone the Nats) in forever.

  25. Duvall ops by month. April .842 May .864 June .857
    Schebler April .916 May .843 June .868

    A couple of good finds!! Trading wise….can’t fault the Reds front office!

    • No, you really can’t. And Duvall is way better in LF than the early speculation said he’d be. A far sight better than the Gomes and Ludwick days.

  26. OK, Scott … better settle down now that you’ve got a “clean inning” again.

  27. Chuck Norris comes to Scooter for batting lessons

  28. Radio feed is talking about first ballgames … my first regular season was at Wrigley against the Mets and Doc Gooden. Got to see Hernandez get ejected and almost got my head taken off by a foul tip liner off Foster’s bat (if memory serves).

    • Mine was 1974 at Riverfront — Straight-A tickets through school. I can’t remember the opponent. I just remember what a rush of visual stimulation there was to come up the gray cement tunnel from the mezzanine to the seats and seeing all of the color of the field and the four decks of seating.

      • First actual pro game was Spring Training 81 in Phoenix. Watched the Cubs on that game as well.

        • June 27, 1969, Indians vs. Yankees in Cleveland. Sam McDowell won and got his 1500th strikeout that night. The Yankees were awful in 1969. I grew up in NY State so as a child they were my team.

          • I grew up in NY state as well … I chose the Reds because all my friends were Yanks fans. Before that (living in New Jersey) we were Mets fans.

  29. Marty says “Two outstanding throws” and “Goodwin was hung out to dry”

    Got to love that.

    • And he is praising the Reds as among the best in baseball at hitting the cutoff and making those plays.

  30. Scooter!! What a stupid call by their 3b coach! Nobody out….why risk it? We’ll take it.

  31. Nice glovework from Scooter that inning, impressive. I wonder what the Brewers saw in him that they didn’t think worth keeping?

    • Let’s not judge the Brewers. After all, they lead the NL Central at the moment. We’ll just view it as a “gift” … much like the ones the Nats are giving us today.

    • Villar had a monster year last year with 19 hrs & 62 steals and they already had Hernan Perez (13 hrs & 34 steals) as kind of super utility guy. Scooter had a .728 ops last year so it sort of makes sense. Villar has been bad from Opening day on though. Great for us although who knows what the real Scooter will look like? I’m thinking low 800 ops if used correctly!

  32. Gennett made a good throw and all but Thom’s man crush is getting annoying. Scooter could strikeout three times in a row in a game but “he does it like no one has ever before”.
    Welsh makes a comment about Schebler’s play and also Gennett “it’s throwing 120 ft” but Thom brings it right back to the Gennett show

  33. Tucker being Tucker

  34. Feldman has one career home run, apparently. He hit it off of … drum roll, please … Bronson Arroyo.

  35. So far a “quality start” that actually looks … well … quality!

  36. I say even though Feldman is over 100 pitches, leave him in there until he gives up a hit or a walk. Do you think Price will let him go back out, or that he is automatically out because he has crossed the 100-pitch plateau?

  37. Good outing for Feldman… Much needed.

  38. Julio Teheran got bombed today for the Braves (5.30 era). I wonder if the Reds could pull off something for him? I still think he can be really good! He’s got great sinking action on his pitches! 188 ip last year with 3.21 era, 1.05 whip, and .223 batt avg allowed. He’s 26.5 and makes 6.5 mil.

  39. I hope the Apr/May bullpen shows up today.

  40. Four.for.Four.

    Just another day in Scooter’s world and we get to be a part of it.

  41. 4 hits so far for Gennett. Pretty hard to keep that out of the lineup when Cozy returns.

  42. Nats announcer: Scooter GeNATT killer

  43. Raise you hand if you’ve seen the Reds score early, then no offense for the rest of the game?

  44. Votto should have bunted Scooter over. Then we’d have another run.

  45. Why does this feel like a quick game of “press your luck”?

  46. Still Scooter’s World

  47. I think I just saw a graphic on Reds TV that Feldman has pitched at least seven innings in five starts, and all other Reds starters combined have done it six times.

  48. Iggy summoned to get the last 5 outs. Let’s go!

    • But it isn’t a save opportunity. He can’t pitch today … rules … stats … Dusty’d ballpark.

      • Oh but it will count as a save (at least it did at some point, outs plus on deck plus on base vs. run differential) don’t worry after doing some nice things in April wrt the bullpen, BP not gonna rock any boats…

  49. Decent day for Patrick K … he fielded several cleanly and scored once plus a RBI.

  50. 4 pitches, 2 outs … I’ll take that.

  51. Gameday had both 1st pitch stikes as outside … how close were they?

  52. I’ll take 4-for-5 from Scooter … feeling hopeful for a W today.

  53. 13 pitches to close it out … that does look more like April/May Iggy.

    Have a great evening all!

  54. whee … I was beginning to forget what a win felt like.

  55. Winning is fun! Nice job by Feldman and the crew.

  56. Nice win. More of this, please…

  57. Thanks as always for a great analysis.

Comments are closed.

About Tom Mitsoff

Tom Mitsoff is a lifelong Reds fan who grew up in the Dayton suburb of Beavercreek, Ohio. He lived a teenage life atypical of most his age by prioritizing following the Reds. At one point in the 1970s and early 1980s, Tom kept complete scorecards on more than 1,000 consecutive Reds games. Now that adult life has forced him to move on from his beloved Southwest Ohio, he follows the Reds daily through MLB.TV and other online media sources, including Redleg Nation.

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2017 Reds, Game Thread

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