Titanic Struggle Recap

The Cubs are gonna lose today

The Reds have now won 3 out of 4 against NL Central competition and wins against the defending World Series champion Cubs have been particularly rare. The Reds are 22-19 at home. The Cubs are 40-40. Last year they were 51-29 after 80 games.

Cincinnati Reds 5  Chicago Cubs 0 || Box || Play Log || Statcast

Scott Feldman pitched a wonderful game, limiting the Cubs lineup to 2 hits and 2 walks while striking out 7. His breaking ball kept the Chicago hitters off balance all night. The Cubs were without several of their big bats, but seven shutout innings is still seven shutout innings.

Michael Lorenzen and Wandy Peralta handled the last two innings, finishing the 3-hit shutout.

The other key to the game was Adam Duvall’s 19th home run of the year, knocking in Zack Cozart and Joey Votto. It was a 356-foot opposite field shot. It gave the Reds a 3-0 lead that would have been 4-0 if Billy Hamilton hadn’t been thrown out at 3B trying to stretch a routine fly ball into a triple.

You can build your team around speed. Earl Weaver and I will build ours around getting on base and 3-run homers.

The Reds are the only team in the major leagues with three players with at least 19 home runs (h/t Jeff Wallner). Votto has 23 and Scott Schebler has 20.

Zack Cozart, hobbled by his quad muscle injury, had two hits and made a nice play in the field on a ground ball in the hole. It must hurt to plant his right leg to make a strong throw to first base. Joey Votto had two doubles. He’s hitting .311/.424/.622. His wRC+ is 165. Votto’s isolated power is 2nd in the NL to Dodger rookie phenom Cody Bellinger.

Dick Williams said before the game there is mutual interest in the club signing Cozart to an extension. While an extension may or may not be a good idea for the Reds, that statement doesn’t hurt Williams’ position in trade negotiations. On the other hand, the Reds renewed interest in Cozart may be genuine and related to watching Jose Peraza struggle in the field and at the plate.

71 thoughts on “The Cubs are gonna lose today

  1. Big win for the Reds tonight with Feldman, the temporary ace of the rotation, coming through again pitching a seven inning gem with 7 K’s.

    • I reluctantly agree! There was a ball tonite that eluded Joey and Peraza ranged way over in rightfield and threw him out. If Zach was playing 2b…he wouldn’t have even came close to that ball! Great guy but he’s banged up too much and age is working against him. Someone wrote on RLN earlier about $39 mil/3 yrs? That wouldn’t be a bad deal but I doubt he would take it. They’d be lucky to get 400 atbats/season out of him.

      • I may disagree. At game tonight told a friend that Coz is re-invented at the plate. The logic is trade him but he could do this for 3 more years easy. Infield is sparse until that time.

      • Maybe he gets it, maybe he doesn’t

        Zack does get the one that rolled thru Peraza’s wicket and extended Feldman 2 batters

        If it is a reasonable extension, sign him

        Zack is a baller

  2. It’s fun to see all those Cubs fans watch their team lose after contributing to the Reds’ future payroll.

  3. Why not trade Cozart for a prospect? Then if there really is mutual interest resign him in the offseason. Maybe deal Peraza in a multi player trade in the offseason. Find a platoon partner for Scooter in 2018.

  4. Great win tonite! I always pick a favorite misfit underdog Reds player like Jeff Keppinger, Jerry Hairston Jr., Sam LeCure, Straily, etc but they always fade pretty quickly but I think Duvall is actually the real deal!!! My fav player since Eric Davis!!

    • I forgot about Josh Hamilton. I went into a mini-sports depression when they traded him:) I still can’t believe they had a season to watch that much talent (and cheap) and let him go? What if Hamilton was in the lineup when Bailey pitched well in Gm 3 vs SF? Maybe we sweep SF and go on to the WS?

  5. Great,game tonight. I switched over to the Orioles and Rays and Jumbo is pitching. He has to be 350 pds. He makes Todd Coffey look skinny.

  6. I’m excited to hear the news about the mutual interest in signing an extension. With the lack of a league average replacement, This seems to be the best move. Prefer 2 years and 3rd year mutual option with a 1 year opt out for Cozart. I don’t believe the Peraza experiment is going to workout.

    Hey Hey What do you say the Cubs are gonna lose today! Love it.

  7. They need to trade Cozart, not resign him. He is playing well above his mean. Peraza is our guy. The walk lovers need to have patience, he has a good bat and he is young. The rest will come, maybe not power, but his OBP.

    Love beating the Cubs. My least favorite team in the league.

    • I’m going to go with a sleeper for SS if they trade Cozart. Alex Blandino! His offense has picked up and he’s got a .387 obp this year. Peraza is super athletic and range and a good arm but his swing lacks drive from his legs like many have pointed out. He needs alot of work!

      • I don’t think anyone in the organization sees Blandino as a major league shortstop. Sure he played there in college and stills sees some time there, but the tools really aren’t there to be an everyday MLB SS. He could be a great utility INF though

    • Peraza is NOT our guy YET. His bat needs to improve to be “the guy”. If the Reds were contending, they would be seriously looking to upgrade his bat.

      • If the Reds were contending, Peraza would be on the bench. Scooter would be at second.

  8. There must be 0 market for Cozart. The 0-June slump is just baseball, but no one wants a rental that can’t stay on the field.

    • I agree this is the situation. And the other teams are probably also figuring or at least wondering if the slump is due to physical issues.

      • I really feel the Reds injury woes have tainted the Reds fan base so badly that every time a player gets a boo boo now they expect his limb to drop off. Cozart regressed to the norm in June (.250/.323/.446/.769). A .100 or so drop in BABIP/BA over April/May will do that to a guy. His BB rate is also falling back to about norm. Everyone should have been expecting this, especially trade partners, who would have only offered the June rate to begin with anyway.

  9. This is one player I would keep and not trade, when free agency hits, unless you get some really hot prospects for Cozart. He is just getting to the point where he can swing the bat well and consistently. I remember Dusty Baker said Cozart would be a great number 2 hitter someday…..looks like that some day is here! And….with Peraza struggling hitting (he swings with his arms, and doesn’t move his feet…almost like the old “stepping in the bucket” habit many players have.) and with Peraza struggling in the field, if he can’t play second base, how is he going to play short stop, I would extent Cozart. Also, no telling how young players the Reds would get back in a trade, would work out….we are still wondering about Finnegan, Reed, Davis, ect…..

  10. I like the idea of Cozart extension. Replace Hamilton and Peraza in lineup with Winker and Gennett, and Reds have a fearsome lineup. Trade some of these prospects for a solid starter. Resign Feldman. Trade acquisition gets a rotation spot, other 4 is open competition in spring training with my uneducated guess ranking them in order of likelihood of earning it: 1)Castillo 2)Garrett 3)Lorenzen 4)Feldman 5)Bailey 6)Desclafani 7)Finnegan 8)Reed 9)Adleman 10)Mahle 11)Stephenson 12)Romano. Some of those names likely traded to get the one starter. Ariel Hernandez and Iglesias get bullpen spots, and the losers of the starter derby compete with CIngrani/Herget/Peralta for remaining spots, with maybe 3 of the younger guys (10,11,12 above look like good bets) staying on 40man in Louisville waiting for injury call up. I think this team is competitive. Bailey needs to show something the rest of this year. Garrett, Reed, and Castillo need extended time in rotation the rest of this year to show us if we can count on them next year or if we need to supplement our trade for a starter with an additional free agent.

    • Why would a team in 5th place trade for a rental pitcher that gets worse month by month….and pay him 8 million for 1/2 a season?

      • I was joking, Chuck. The Cubs traded away Feldman once and got Arrieta. Now they would be trying to trade away a faltering Arrieta to get Feldman back! But as they say, if you have to explain the joke, it didn’t work!

  11. Off topic, but I thought this was interesting: In the Marlins-Brewers game Friday night, the Brewers had just scored a run in the bottom of the fifth inning to cut the Marlins’ lead to 2-1. And with two out in the inning, no runners on base, the pitcher’s spot in the order was up. Matt Garza hit for himself, and the Brewers still put in a new pitcher. First-place team trailing in the fifth inning of a close game, and that was not a spot to pinch hit for a pitcher who was leaving the game anyway? I guess Bryan Price is not the only manager whose pinch hitting philosophy I don’t understand. … (P.S. — The Brewers came back and won anyway 3-2. All three runs scored on two home runs hit by Stephen Vogt, the guy who was robbed by Schebler the other night.)

  12. I agree with Steve that Hamilton’s trying to make it to 3rd on that fly ball was very poor baserunning. He had slowed down going into second, it made no sense (no outs to boot). During the Reds awful streak he was twice thrown out trying to steal 3rd to kill rallies in situations where it made no sense to be running – these were games the Reds might have won.

    I know he manufactures the game winning run in an occasional game, but he can do that without being stupidly aggressive. He just doesn’t seem to be learning anything.

    • PS The throw from the Cuns CFer that got Hamilton at 3rd was called a “perfect throw”. It was accurate but it was actually a weak rainbow throw. The bigger point is that there’s a real difference between being smart aggressive vs. stupid aggressive on the bases, and it isn’t that in one case you’re safe and in the other you’re out.
      The difference lies in judgment about risk vs. reward in the given situation.

    • Yes, it’s unfortunate that Billy’s blunder cost the Reds the game. What I saw was the outfielder making an unusual barehanded deflection on a ball (a routine fly from Billy, a double from a different hitter) that dropped in front of him. That deflection kept the ball close enough to him that he was able to complete the play to third. When attempting to go home to third on a routine flyball, he who hesitates is lost, though in this case, he who doesn’t hesitate is lost. If BH hadn’t been thrown out, and Duvall had hit the same homer, it would have been a grand slam, assuming that the other events had transpired the same way (not a safe assumption). If we had some ham, we could have ham and eggs if we had eggs. The game was close at the time of that play, so it’s understandable that BH would think it important that he get to third if possible, since he wasn’t to know that Duvall would hit a homer.

      • You’re often a voice of reason but with no outs, there is no baseball reason for him to risk it there. It was simply a bad move. It would have been a bad move if it had been close but he made it. The only way it isn’t a bad move is if he was 100% sure he was going to make it and was justified by it not even being close at 3B.

    • Every time I hear or read that BHam’s “effective” OBP/ OPS should be considered to be higher than his real OBP/OPS because his baserunning creates runs, I wonder if the people saying this are equally weighing his baserunning outs as negative events in their “calculations”..

  13. I was listening to Marty’s radio call when Votto stole 3rd and scored on the bad throw. He talked it up quite a bit and gave Votto credit for “keeping his head in the game”.
    The Reds took advantage of the catcher the Cubs had in there for Montero, who as we know was suddenly released.

    • How you doing, Pinson! That was a crazy play, Votto stealing third, but he had the pitcher pegged for when he was and wasn’t going to check on him. And with a 4-0 lead, he was playing with house money, unlike when Billy was thrown out trying to steal third when the Reds desperately needed a run to tie or take the lead. … That throw to third to try to get Votto was so wide on the second base side of third base that Votto had to slow down so he wouldn’t get hit with it.

      • Hey there, Vegas ! I’m with you on your comment. Actually Marty gave a detailed description – how the pitcher hadn’t been looking his way and he took a walking lead and then took them by surprise. Also that the shift on Schebler helped him and the inexperience of the catcher. He gave credit to Votto for using his head and taking advantage of all of that.

        The ironic thing for me is that this reminded me of Pete Rose baseball and the other day Marty said Joey doesn’t play like Pete Rose.

        • After Votto hit his 2nd HR on Thursday, Thom was effusive in his praise. I almost fell out of my chair. Is this just a blip on the screen or are the Brennaman’s finally recognizing how good Joey Votto really is?

          • Thom praises Joey Votto a lot more than Marty does. I like Marty, and have listened to him ever since he joined Joe back in 1973, but there are times he really gripes me. I don’t understand the vendetta he has against Votto. I also notice that Pete Rose frequently goes out of his way to talk about what a great hitter Votto is. I think Pete is trying to be the anti-Marty in Cincinnati.

    • True. A decent throw and Votto would have been out by 10 feet on that one.

  14. Who would have thought Feldman would be this good ? It’s interesting that he credited Tucker with correcting a mechanical flaw in the second inning.

    It’s a similar surprise to Dan Straily last year. who BTW is having an even better season this year: 3.44 ERA, 3.80 FIP, 90 Ks and only 70 hits allowed in 89 innings, a 3.21 K/BB ratio. But I was in favor of the trade for Castillo at the time and still am.

    • Me too. Glad for Straily but I thought trading Dan was the right move given the return.

      • It was an excellent move. I think Castillo could be a #1 starter someday….soon. He has great stuff.
        Straily was (and is) a great guy, who pitches with a great understanding of his limitations. He has a lot in common with Bronson Arroyo.

  15. I didn’t check out the Homer Bailey discussion after last night’s game. He seems to be healthy – his velocity was 93-95 mph – and if so he’s going to be OK. He has the mental fortitude and the talent. After 3 years, there’s going to be some serious rust.

    I don’t usually care what an athlete says after a bad performance but an article by CTrent had a relevant quote from Homer: “The action on the pitches looked good, the velocity’s there … maybe taking your time and being a little bit sharper. That little bit of sharpness is the difference between the home run and the ground ball, or the home run and the pop out. It’s just going to take a little bit of time.”

    • If he’s healthy, it’s all about location and Homer has the ability to rectify that problem as long as he can take the ball every 5 days. I’m still trying to be optimistic that the Reds will salvage something from this contract.

  16. I see where Jesse Winker returned to the Bats lineup last night, batting 4th (0 for 4) & playing…………..centerfield? Not sure I’ve seen him start there before. Few things (about the Reds) could make me happier than to see Jesse play a credible cf.

    • Winker played one other game in CF for the Bats earlier this season. Winker is not a bad defensive OF, he’s just OK. He’s not fleet footed and he doesn’t have a cannon, but he can handle himself defensively in the OF

  17. I agree just give him and some of these young arms the ball every 5th day.Homer was very good in his re hab starts but the big leagues are the big leagues.I will continue to say you can work on things in the minors but to pitch up here you have to pitch up here.

  18. Winker won’t get a legitimate shot until the club makes a decision on Billy which seems to not be until the off season.Billy has struck out two fewer times then Duvall which for a lead off hitter with no power is well bad.

    • His OBP vs lefties is the same as his BA vs lefties (.198). Yet to work a walk in about 80 AB against southpaws. Not good.

  19. Per Cozart, it’s the old Bill Walsh theory: you release/trade players in their 30s not because they can’t still play but because it takes them longer to return from injuries compared to someone in their 20s. I like Cozart but we’re seeing these injuries add up.

    • The consideration is what will you actually get in return for Zach. I am sure at least two teams have contacted the Reds about Zach, but what did they offer? Dick Williams discussion about an extension could be part of a larger negotiating strategy for Zach. “Look here, get him in a trade, or we lock him up for three years”.
      I would not be unhappy with Zach at SS the next three year with the Reds.

  20. The issue with the possible Cozart extension, is the contract, how much and how long. No one knows what the Reds might consider or what Cozart might consider reasonable. Cozart probably doesn’t even know right now. Teams are getting more cautious on handing out FA contracts (see Fowler, Dexter). we might be surprised at the terms of the contract that might be negotiated.

  21. Billy Hamilton 1-4 yesterday and the only time he was on base, his bonehead move made a positive contribution null and void.

  22. You are right Old Cossack but I don’t see the Reds giving much in dollars or years.Cozy is looking for all he can get and for as long as he can get it.Don’t blame him at all but as you say we could be surprised.

  23. If the Reds do reach an agreement to extend Zack Cozart, it will be quite a statement about the failure of certain parts of the rebuilding process and trades. Ties up SS for a few years. Can only play one 2B and one 3B. Senzel, Suarez, Gennett, Peraza, Herrera, Alfredo Rodriguez, Blandino …

    • A good problem to have and with Suarez, Cozart, Gennet and Votto in the starting IF, I don’t see anyone else challenging for a starting position on the major league roster until 2019. By that time we should see a transitioning to the next generation of players as new players challenge existing starters and begin the replacement process. We also have young players coming up to fill in for injuries or move into utility roles.

      I do agree that it throws a bucket of cold water on a key aspect of the rebuilding process and trades. DW might have some tough decisions and acknowledgements to make, if he’s up to it.

      • I think there is no market for Cozart.
        Every team has a core franchise shortstop on the MLB club or one developing in the minors.

        Herrera and blandino are not going to be difference makers. Aquino and Ervin aren’t developing. The starting pitchers aren’t developing. Homer.disco.finnegan arent close to being durable 15 game winners.Peraza is not an elite SS that becomes an All star…he might be a solid utility player.

        Suarez.schebler and duvall have sorted themselves as keepers.

        This signals the reds are trying to build a bridge with position players until the next wave of top prospects arrive in 2019/20 and the starting pitching becomes better.

  24. Votto leads all qualifying NL hitters with a 1.046 OPS, .027 ahead of Goldschmidt and .038 ahead of Zimmerman. Votto is increasing his OPS at a study, regular pace while everyone else is decreasing.

    In addition to Votto leading the league…

    Cozart => .966 OPS & 6th in the league
    Duvall => .904 OPS & 19th in the league
    Schebler => .875 OPS & 25th in the league
    Suarez .813 OPS & 38th in the league

    Then we can throw in the non-qualifiers on the Reds roster…

    Gennett => .915 OPS
    Mesoraco => .828 OPS

    And even the utility players on the Reds roster…

    Barnhart => .728 OPS
    Kivlehan => .716 OPS

    Of course we wouldn’t want too much success to unleash this offense against the rest of the league, so the Reds balance out the offense with two starters…

    Hamilton => .616 OPS
    Peraza => .612 OPS

    And one scrub…

    Alcantara => .535 OPS

    Gennett is under team control and Cozart could be under team control for a couple more years. The key to future success is obviously getting the pitching straightened out, but this could be a scary good offense and there is no reason to limit the offense with non-productive speed.

    • Small sample size but Tucker has a .433 ops vs lefties. Glad we didn’t need any offense from him last night. I don’t know….maybe he works better w/Feldman but Price needs to play Mesoraco vs lefties. If they don’t trade Cozart then they could send Peraza down to play every day and could bring up Brandon Dixon (.957 ops vs lefties) to platoon w/Scooter.

      • Yeah, he seems to have them more on a schedule. Mesoraco crushes LHP (historically) and Barnhart struggles against LHP (historically). He can have his schedule for them but should make the caveat that Mesoraco starts against all LHP unless he’s been way overused (4-5 games in a row as it stands now) or he has a physical issue (illness, minor injury).

  25. With Cozart’s injury history, I am not in favor of an extension. Although Peraza is not perfect, I would go with him at short and develop the young infielders in the minors. The Reds have made progress but it’s important to keep the rebuild on track.

    • Agreed .. We all like Zack and wish him the best. And of course we may look back over the next couple of years and regret letting him get away, But that’s the way baseball works. The Reds have a stack of middle infielders coming plus Peraza and Suarez here now. Stick with the rebuild plan . Get what you can for Zack or even let him walk away at season’s end and move forward . .

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